Health Media Today
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How to Reduce the Salt in Your Diet
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Nutrition
Canadians on average consume about 3400 mg of salt on a daily basis, more than double the recommended amount. Continued over-consumption of salt can lead to some serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, heart failure, and heart attack.
Cutting back on the amount of sodium in your diet doesn’t have to be difficult but it does require a bit of research and knowledge. Here are our tips to get you started.
Keep it Fresh
Fresh meats are the best option since processed meats are high in sodium. Bacon, sandwich meats, and ham all come in reduced sodium versions but be aware that “reduced sodium” is different from low sodium. Read your labels.
Pick Frozen Over Canned
You should be looking for vegetables that are “fresh frozen,” which means they have no added sauces or seasonings. Some canned vegetables and legumes can contain a lot of sodium so make sure you check your labels carefully. You can rinse them under water to try and remove some of the salt before eating.
Watch for Sweet and Salty
Sweet items can be surprisingly high in sodium, like pies and other store bought baked goods. The amount of sugar disguises the salty taste, so read your labels carefully.
Spice It Up
Try using more herbs and spices in your cooking rather than flavoring with salt. Be conscious of seasonings that have added sodium like pre-prepared spice blends or garlic salt.
Read Up Before Dining Out
Some restaurants will list nutritional content on their website but if not, take a look at the menu before you go and try to decide on a low-sodium option so you won’t be tempted by other higher sodium choices when you get there. Ask your server about the salt in your food and request it unsalted where possible.
Put the Salt Shaker Away
Break the habit of putting the salt shaker on the dinner table where it is easy to reach for. You should also never salt your food until you have tasted it to see if a pinch of salt is actually required.
Eliminate Pre-Packaged Foods
Convenience foods such as frozen dinners, pizzas, canned soup, packaged baking mixes, and flavoured packs of pasta and rice are extremely high in sodium. The same goes for condiments such as salad dressings, soy sauce, ketchup, relish, and mustard.