Have you thought about the salt hiding in your food?
You’ve read about how important it is to maintain a healthy blood pressure, and the best way to do that is to cut down on your sodium intake.
Doing that also reduces your risk of stroke, heart failure, and multiple other health problems. But there’s salt hiding in your food, sometimes where you least expect it.
➡ As a reminder, the American Heart Associations caps the amount of sodium safe for consumption at 2,300 mg per day. That’s ONE TEASPOON.
➡ Ideally, they also recommend we work that down to 1,500 mg per day.
It may be easier to do, once you learn about the salt hiding in your food.
The major part of the sodium in American diets (almost 80 %!) comes from processed and packaged foods. These foods may not even taste salty, but be packed with sodium.
➡ Frozen Meals – Don’t be fooled by wrappers that say “Healthy.” They often lie.
ALL processed foods contain sodium, some more than others. For instance:
• Canned or pickled foods
• Snack foods
• Deli meat
• Condiments, sauces, and dressings
• Bread (yes!)
• Cereals (you’d be surprised)
• Soda (including diet soda)
Checking labels is the only way to know how much sodium is in your food.
If you buy packaged or processed foods, choose foods that are labeled “sodium-free” or “very low sodium.”
➡ Also, remember that the amount of sodium listed on the ingredient label is for one serving size. If you eat more than the listed serving size, you will, of course, consume more sodium.
Also, be aware of foods/condiments that taste sweet but are also sodium-rich:
Marinades and salad dressings
Low-fat cottage cheese packs with fruit a whopping 28 grams of protein for only 160 calories. The catch: a one-cup serving can contain almost 1,000 mg of sodium—about 40% of what you’re supposed to have in an entire day. Look for “no-salt-added” cottage cheese.
Better bet? stick with plain oatmeal topped with fruit.
The Centers for Disease Control has a list of six popular foods with high sodium content dubbed the “Salty Six”:
1. Bread and rolls – each piece can have up to 230 mg of sodium
2. Pizza – one slice can have up to 760 mg of sodium
3. Cold cuts and cured meats – Two slices of bologna have 578 mg of sodium
4. Poultry – especially chicken nuggets. Just 3 ounces have nearly 600 mg of sodium
5. Canned soups – one cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 mg of sodium
6. Sandwiches – Consider the bread, cured meats, processed cheese and condiments, and sandwiches can easily surpass 1,500 mg of sodium
So What About Sea Salt?
Sea salt is usually marketed as a “natural” and “healthier” alternative.
The main differences between sea salt and table salt, however, are in taste, texture, and processing. Sea salt has a stronger flavor. But…both sea salt and table salt have the same amount of sodium by weight.
Better to toss your salt shaker altogether, which should help keep you from adding even more salt to your food at the table than it already contains.
Diet For High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a low-sodium intervention – and all the foods you’d eat are low in fat.
Train your taste buds
At first, foods may not taste as good without sodium. But you will adjust over time.
➡ Natural substitutes that taste great include lemon, ginger, and curry
➡ Dried herbs (such as bay leaves, basil, and rosemary), onion, garlic and dry mustard
You could also use salt substitutes but check with your doctor first. Salt substitutes are not a healthful option for everyone.
The following is taken from our review of the DASH Diet:
…Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful to some people…
For example, many people with kidney problems are unable to rid their bodies of excessive potassium, which could result in a deadly situation.
If you have kidney problems or are on medication for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium as some of them may interact negatively with your medications…
Click the links below to read our 2018 Best Diets For Heart Health And Diabetes Here: