Low Salt Diet
A low salt diet is an effective way for many people to lower their blood pressure. On average, the higher a person’s salt intake, the higher a person’s blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure in the normal range reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Salt is technically referred to as sodium chloride because it’s primarily composed of the elements sodium and chloride. Your body requires some sodium to function properly. Sodium helps maintain the right balance of fluids in the body, helps transmit nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles. But many people are consuming far too much sodium.
Various organizations have published recommendations for daily sodium intake. Most recommend between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day for healthy adults. This amount is equal to about half to one teaspoon of salt. These recommendations are especially important for those who are predisposed to develop high blood pressure, such as African-Americans, obese people, and people with a family history of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease. Maximum amount of the sodium in a person’s diet comes from salt, so keep this in mind that a low salt diet will keep sodium intake within a healthy range.
On average, the natural salt content of food accounts for only about 10% of a person’s total salt intake, while salt added at the table provides another 5% to 10% of a person’s intake. The majority of a person’s salt intake comes from salt added to food during processing or cooking.
7 Tips For Following A Low Salt Diet
- Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. You can leave out the salt in many recipes while cooking your favorite food, including casseroles, stews, and other main dishes. Baked goods are an exception. Leaving out the salt could affect the quality of the food in the outcome as well as the taste of the food.
- Read ingredient labels to identify foods high in sodium. So this way you will be already aware of how much sodium is in cereal, canned goods, bread, bacon, frozen foods, etc. Having the knowledge of how much sodium you are consuming in your daily basis will make reduction much easier.
- Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed and packaged foods. Most of the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are naturally low in sodium. For example Fresh meat is lower in sodium than luncheon meat, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and ham are.
- Limit your use of sodium-laden condiments. Salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard, and relish all contain sodium.
- be careful when dining out. Many foods served at restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, are high in sodium. When dining out, words that signal high sodium include: smoked, barbecued, pickled, broth, soy sauce, creole sauce, mustard sauce, cocktail sauce, marinated, tomato base, Parmesan, and teriyaki.
- Use herbs, spices, and other flavorings to enhance foods. Season your food with fresh or dried herbs, spices, sea salt, fresh garlic or onions, fresh lemon or lime juice, ginger, fresh ground horseradish, pepper, flavored vinegar, and salt-free seasoning mixes.
- Use salt substitutes and light salts wisely. Some salt substitutes and light salts contain a mixture of salt and other compounds. To achieve that familiar salty taste, you may use too much of the salt substitute or light salt and actually not reduce your sodium intake.
Following a low salt diet is really not that difficult. Your taste for salt is acquired, so it’s reversible. If you gradually decrease your use of salt, your taste buds will adjust.
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