How to Lower Your Salt (Sodium) Intake

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Certain groups of people such as the elderly, African-American, and those with a family history of hypertension, are more likely to have blood pressure that’s particularly sensitive to salt. Cutting sodium in your diet means more than taking it easy on the saltshaker. Only 15% of the sodium in the typical western diet comes from the saltshaker. Try seasoning your foods with spices like, fresh herbs, lemon, and the wide variety of salt-free seasoning blends that stores now carry. Cooking with spices instead of salt is always a safe bet.

Another step you can take in the fight against sodium, is to make sure you don’t consume more than the recommended 2,300 mg per day or 1 tsp. of salt a day total. This means you will need to choose your processed foods wisely. Some of the biggest culprits in the salt fight is packaged mixes, canned vegetables and soups, deli meats and frozen meats. You can’t ever go wrong with choosing fresh, whole food when possible. Select reduced or low sodium varieties of processed foods, soups, and canned vegetables.

Stores now also carry an excellent selection of unsalted crackers and pretzels. Remember, removing the saltshaker from the table is always a simple solution. When cooking get used to cutting the amount of salt by half. However, reducing the salt won’t work when you are baking. Unfortunately, for most baked goods the salt in the recipes is needed for more than just flavor. Search for diabetes-friendly recipes.

And finally, a significant step is by limiting the amount of high sodium foods you eat. High sodium foods are things like food packed in brine such as pickles, condiments such as soy sauce and ketchup or cured foods such as bacon and ham. These items are loaded with salt. It may be hard to avoid or eliminate them from your diet, but your blood pressure will thank you for it.

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