Sodium, otherwise known as salt, is a sneaky thing that can show up where you least expect it. The problem is that a diet too high in sodium can elevate your blood pressure to unhealthy levels, which increases your risk of heart disease. The average American way overdoes it on the recommended 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. Need to cut back? These are the foods to limit or remove from your diet today.
1. Make Fresh Meals Instead of Relying on Frozen Dinners
There’s nothing more convenient than popping a potpie or a lasagna in the oven for dinner, but frozen meals are notoriously high in salt. Why? Because it’s used to enhance the flavor of the meal, but also to help preserve it. Cooking your own meals may take a bit more time, but you can easily control the salt content so you can eat the food without worrying about your health.
2. Canned Foods Are a Dangerous Thing
Grab a can of soup and check out how much salt it contains. Staggering, isn’t it? Canned foods, like their frozen counterparts, are often packed with salt for preservation and flavor. That includes everything from beans to peas to corn. You have two options here. You can rinse the canned goods to get rid of some of the salt or you can switch to “fresh frozen” veggies and beans, which are usually way lower, if not free of, salt.
3. Cook with Spices and Herbs for Flavor
There’s no doubt that salt can add a lot of taste to your meals. However, as you know, salt is not a good thing in large amounts. Sub in herbs and spices and you can get the mega flavor you crave in a much safer way. Try dill on salmon, thyme on chicken and ground ginger on steak. You’ll love experimenting so get started today!
4. Eat Fresh Foods Whenever Possible
When you eat foods that have not been processed, it’s much easier to keep your salt intake under control. A diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains and fresh meats is a healthy way to get your daily nutrient needs, while also controlling how much sodium you get so you can keep your body healthy.
5. Learn to Read Labels
When you shop for food, it’s important to be able to read the nutrition info so you can choose items that are low in salt. In today’s world, you’re never going to be able to avoid the premade bread, pasta and other things on store shelves. Learning to assess the sodium content can help you choose the healthiest one. Sodium is listed on the nutrition panel so it’s pretty easy to determine if a food is the right choice or not.
6. Check a Restaurant’s Website before You Get There
Restaurants rely on salt to make their foods ultra flavorful, which is why your home cooked meals often taste a bit different. However, dining out too often can really do you in when it comes to sodium intake. Most restaurants list their nutrition info on the website so you can made a healthy choice before you even arrive. Easy, right?
7. Cut Back Slowly so You Don’t Feel Deprived
If you already have a taste for highly salted dishes, it will be hard to cut back cold turkey. Gradually reduce how much you eat and it won’t feel so hard to reduce your intake. Cut down your portions at the beginning of each week. Experts say it can take up to eight weeks before you get used to a less salty diet, so stick with it.
Do you get too much salt? How will you cut back?