Following a Low Sodium Diet to a Healthy Heart
Health Hacks The average daily intake of sodium in the U.S. is a whopping 3,500 milligrams — more than twice the amount recommended by the Health Department.
The correlation between high blood pressure and sodium intake is well documented and the fact is simple; the lower your sodium intake, the lower your blood pressure and the better the outlook is on your personal heart health.
One of the keys to successfully reducing salt intake is making wise food choices. A very small amount of sodium comes naturally from food, and an even smaller amount comes from salt we add at the table. This means that the processed foods most Americans eat are accountable for the majority of our sodium intake.
Fresh foods, and moreover, freshly prepared foods are the best way to ensure you are adhering to a salt reduced diet. While making your food choices, the label can be your best friend. Most foods and condiments that people use every single day have low sodium counterparts. A regular can of diced tomatoes can have as much as 15 times more sodium than the low sodium option.
Fruits and vegetables
Another way to help lower your daily sodium intake is by injecting more fruits and vegetables into your diet because they are naturally low in sodium and have the added benefit of being high in potassium. Start gradually. No one goes from a lifestyle in which meat and processed foods are the main course to a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables.
“Most foods and condiments that people use every single day have low sodium counterparts.”
If you’re currently only eating one or two servings of vegetables per day, add an extra serving during lunch and another for dinner. Add fruit as a healthy snack in between meals. Try treating meat as only part of your meal, and not necessarily the main focus. Increasing vegetable servings and whole grains not only help reduce the amount of sodium you take in, but they also help you eat less by making you feel full.
Seasoning and condiments
While it’s normal for processed foods to be a person’s main source of sodium, food preparation can sometimes be a factor as well. Seasonings, spices and condiments used during your meal prep can unknowingly increase your sodium intake during any meal. Finding reduced sodium and sodium free options such as seasonings allow for a healthier meal without giving up on taste.