Most of us would benefit from reducing the amount of salt in our diet. On average, we consume 4,000 milligrams or more of sodium per day, almost twice the daily recommendation. Salt is a given in most of our packaged food, so where on earth do we begin to cut down?
Here are four ways to get started:
- Choose fresh foods (fresh meat, poultry, and fish, whole fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed grains), when possible. Processing almost always means added sodium.
- Compare the sodium content of different brands, and even of similar products within the same brand, since levels vary widely. Reduced-fat foods, such as low-fat cheese, often have more sodium than their full-fat versions. And don’t assume that organic packaged foods or health-food brands have less sodium.
- Bear in mind that “healthy” options on menus are not necessarily low in sodium, so when eating out, request sauces on the side and, if possible ask that no salt be added.
- Smaller portion sizes and cutting back on snack foods will automatically lower your sodium intake, as well as your total calories, which is a good thing for most people.
Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and the vast majority of sodium we consume is in processed and restaurant foods. While our bodies need a small amount of sodium to work properly, too much sodium is bad for your health. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart disease and stroke.