October 8th, 2013

Reducing Your Sodium Intake – A Practical Guide

Low sodium diets are all the more popular, and for good reason, too. Watching sodium intake is critical because salt draws in water into the bloodstream which increases the volume of your blood and, in time, increases blood pressure. High blood pressure leads to countless risks including heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

It is clear that the typical American diet is excessively high in sodium. The average citizen consumes an average of 3,300 mg of sodium a day when the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends only 2,300 mg a day. To reduce your sodium intake, you will have to do more than just setting down the salt shaker at the dinner table. According to the FDA, the high sodium in our diets comes primarily from packaged and restaurant-prepared foods.

Here are some guidelines to help you cut sodium from your diet:

Grocery Shopping

?When you are grocery shopping, make sure to check and compare labels at the store. Often, the actual sodium content is hidden. Be warned that products labeled ?low sodium? or ?low fat? can still be higher than what is healthy for your body. The truth lies on the nutrition facts label. The FDA explains ?The %DV for sodium is based on 100% of the recommended amount of sodium, which is less than 2400 milligrams (mg) per day.? Anything labeled as ?low sodium? means it contains 5%DV (120mg) or less per serving. Also keep in mind the serving size and be aware of the number of servings you plan to consume in one meal.

Preparing Your Food

As mentioned earlier, be careful to limit shaking extra salt on your food during and after cooking. You can add flavor without adding salt. Try experimenting with herbs and spices like rosemary, oregano, basil, curry powder, ginger, or garlic. You can also find blends of seasonings, but be careful to avoid those containing salt.

Vegetables

Yes, vegetables can contain excess sodium. Always buy fresh when possible, but frozen veggies without sauce are also good. Look for canned vegetables that are marked ?low sodium? or ?no salt added.? Wash them before cooking just to be sure to rinse out the extra sodium.

Eating Out

When dining out, you can always request a low sodium option. Often, these are offered on the menu, but check with the waiter or waitress for good measure. Furthermore, asking for sauces and dressings on the side allows you to control how much you consume. Another option is to save some of your meal to take home for later – restaurant portions are often large and the more you eat, the more sodium enters your body.? As with any diet, ?cheat days? or ?special occasions? are always acceptable, so once in a while, a higher sodium option is appropriate.

 

Here at Thin ?n Trim, we support your daily food choices with our truly low-sodium meat options. Please feel free to submit your questions about our products, dieting, or anything else.

 

For more information, please visit the official FDA page here.

 

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