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Natural Ways to Reduce Sodium
Everyone needs salt to maintain fluid balance as well as muscle and nerve function, but too much salt has become a major health concern in the US. Health risks linked to high salt consumption include: high blood pressure, stroke, heart and kidney disease, along with possible liver damage, osteoporosis and cognitive decline.
Where Is Sodium Coming From?
Salt occurs naturally in food, although most salt in food is added. It can be added during processing, when cooking, or at the table. It is estimated that over 70% of dietary sodium comes from processed foods and restaurant meals and not from the saltshaker you may use at the table or during home cooking.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has identified six popular foods that can add high levels of sodium to your diet.
The “Salty-Six” foods are:
- Poultry & poultry products
- Cold cuts & cured meats
- Breads & rolls
To help identify where sodium is coming from, read the Nutrition Facts label on products. Be sure to check the serving size since the information is based on that portion.
Cut Back on Sodium
Salt is an acquired taste that can be modified. Decrease your use of salt gradually and your taste buds will adjust. Here are some sodium reducing tips that your heart will certainly like!
- Focus on fresh foods that are not processed. Include fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, yogurt and whole grains such as brown rice and oats. These foods are naturally low in sodium.
- Limit processed & prepared foods, as they are higher in sodium. This includes: bacon, hot dogs, deli or lunch meats, canned chili, soups, “instant” potatoes, ramen noodles and cereals. Check the nutrition label to compare sodium content.
- Limit use of soy sauce, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, garlic salt and even lemon pepper. Use fresh herbs to spice up your meals!
Try to limit sodium to 1500 mg or less each day.
Your health will benefit from even a modest reduction in salt intake.
Just 1 teaspoon of salt has 2325 mg of sodium!
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