Monitoring your daily sodium intake can have major health benefits—from reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke to lowering your blood pressure. And cutting salt from your diet doesn’t have to be extremely limiting.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. This means maintaining a balance of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium in your diet. A good way to reach adequate daily amounts of these minerals is to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.
Eliminating some of the salt in your diet doesn’t have to mean completely changing what you’re eating. Below are some easy ways to limit your salt intake.
Limit meals out. Typical restaurant meals are high in sodium. Try eating out less often, and order low-sodium options when you do.
Read the facts. Ingredients to avoid due to their high salt content include sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate, disodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, sodium propionate and sodium sulfite.
Avoid high salt foods. Many brands offer low sodium varieties of foods like cottage cheese, canned soups, spaghetti sauce and beans that you can find at your grocery store.
Put away the salt shaker. Avoid adding salt before and after cooking. Try experimenting with other flavors such as black pepper, garlic, lime or lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.
Reducing Your Risks
Although reducing your sodium intake has many health benefits, the main factors that influence the risk for developing high blood pressure are the following:
Family history of hypertension
Obesity and excess weight
Too little potassium, calcium and magnesium
High stress levels or chronic pain
Excessive consumption of alcohol
Combine your reduced salt diet with exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle to keep your blood pressure within the healthy range.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.