Everyone loves a very tasty food, because it has a way of giving our taste buds this satisfaction that makes the body feel it’s getting a threat. However, as great as these ‘tasty foods’ are, most of them are injurious to our health as the salt present in them is usually high.
Do you know that most common sources of sodium in our diets come from packaged, processed foods? Eating these foods less often can help reduce your sodium intake, lower your blood pressure and/or prevent high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) from developing in the first place.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those with high blood pressure. Even cutting back by 1,000 mg a day can improve blood pressure and heart health.
Salt vs. sodium equivalents
Sodium chloride or table salt is approximately 40 percent sodium. It’s important to understand just how much sodium is in salt so you can take measures to control your intake. These amounts are approximate.
1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
Now that you know the amount of salt to take daily, here are ways you can help reduce high salt intake:
1. Checking Labels for Sodium Sources:
Sodium can be sneaky! Taking control of your sodium means checking labels and reducing preservatives. Other foods to be aware of include: Processed foods, Natural foods with a higher-than-average sodium content, such as cheese, seafood, olives and some legumes, Table salt, sea salt and kosher salt (sodium chloride), Some over-the-counter drugs, Some prescription medications.
2. Shop smart, cook smart
Choose lower-sodium foods or low-sodium versions of your favorites. Although it may take some time for your taste buds to adjust to a lower sodium diet, there are delicious options for very flavorful low-sodium meals. Once the adjustment to healthier dining is made, many people report they would not choose to go back to the highly processed, sodium-rich foods.
3. Eat more Fruits and Vegetables: When buying canned or frozen varieties, be sure to choose the no-salt added versions, and look for the choices without added sauces.
Use fruit and raw vegetables as snacks.
Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils. Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables with added salt to homemade dishes.
4. Learn to use spices and herbs to enhance the natural flavor of food: Ditch salt for healthier, delicious salt-free seasoning alternatives. Don’t salt food before you taste it; enjoy the natural taste of food. Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to season fish and vegetables.
5. Seasoning alternatives — spice it up!
There is a rich world of creative and flavorful alternatives to salt. Get started with this guide to spices, herbs and flavorings and the food items with which they are a particularly good flavor match. Then get creative and experiment!
Culled from Heart.org