Week 12 Video Tip: Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet
Download PDF copy of this week's tip sheet
Watch this week's video tip below to listen hear tips from Gillian Goodfriend, RD, LDN, on how to reduce sodium in your diet.
Approximately one in four Americans has elevated BP. This increases the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Research shows that cutting down on the amount of sodium in your diet will help to reduce your blood pressure.
However, even if you do not have high blood pressure, it is still a good idea to watch the amount of sodium in your diet. Reducing the sodium in your diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the extra fluid in your body since sodium makes the body hold onto water, and it also helps you to cut down on processed foods in general that likely contain not only added salt but also added fats and sugar.
- Sodium is a mineral that the body needs in small amounts. It helps with muscle contraction and also keeps other minerals soluble in the blood.
- Sodium is found in foods mostly as sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is another name for table salt.
- One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium. Most health experts agree that we should limit our sodium intake 2,400 mg or less. This is the amount of sodium in a little more than 1 teaspoon of salt (teaspoon of salt shown in video). For people with heart disease, recommended sodium intake is no more than 2,000 mg per day.
Sodium occurs naturally in many foods and is also added in processing. Many foods have salt added to them because it helps keep them more shelf-stable. While sodium can be hidden in a lot of our foods, the good news is that there are many ways you can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
1. Don't use salt at the table
- Take the salt shaker off the table. Many people salt their food before they even taste it - just out of habit. Removing the salt shaker from the table is an easy but effective strategy for reducing the sodium in your diet.
- Discuss using salt substitutes with your doctor. Salt substitutes contain high amounts of potassium chloride. For people with certain cardiac or kidney conditions, too much potassium can be very dangerous.
- There is a myth that sea salt or kosher salt has less sodium than regular table salt. This is actually not true. They both contain equal amounts of sodium. The difference is that with kosher salt, like this salt grinder, people usually use less. When you have to grind the salt like this, you actually use less than if you pour salt out of a salt shaker like this one.
2. Be careful what you add when you cook
- Avoid any seasonings that have added salt. I can't stress enough the importance of reading the food labels.
- Some seasonings, such as this one, contain a lot of added salt. A 1/4 teaspoon, which is a very small amount, actually contains 95 mg of sodium. You would likely use much more than that and really add a lot of sodium to your food.
- Try cooking with seasonings, like herbs, garlic and lemon juice or with salt-free seasonings, such as this one that contain zero mg of sodium.
- Drain and rinse canned foods, such as these beans, before preparing them to remove some of the salt. Use a collindar such as this one, place the beans in the strainer and run water over them, draining them. It is not enough just to pour the can into a strainer. You actually have to run water over them to remove more of the salt.
- Look for low sodium options in canned products such as no-salt added corn, or reduced sodium beans.
3. Avoid high-sodium foods in general.
This is probably the hardest to follow, because so many convenience foods out there. But most of us take in more sodium through these foods than by using table salt. That's why it's essential to cut back on the. These foods include:
- Canned soups and prepackaged mixes
- Salad dressings
- Fast food
So, these 3 tips for reducing sodium in your diet are: remove the salt shaker from the table, be careful what you add during cooking, and reduce high sodium foods. I hope you will find these tips helpful in reducing the sodium in your diet.
If you have any questions, call Gillian Goodfriend at 312-996-0907.