The American Heart Association recommends Americans consume less than 1500mg of sodium per day. Why is this important? A low sodium diet can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure and help you reduce your chance of developing heart disease.
Why is this important? While sodium is essential to daily body processes such as regulating blood pressure and bringing nutrients in and out of cells, too much can increase your risk for developing stomach cancer, osteoporosis, and most commonly, hypertension (high blood pressure).
A low sodium diet can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure and help you reduce your chance of developing heart disease. Further, by exchanging sodium with other flavorful ingredients such as herbs and spices, you increase your intake of antioxidants and phytochemicals which are believed to lower heart disease and cancer risk by fighting environmental stressors.
Sodium is used in foods because it is an inexpensive way to enhance flavor and keep food fresher longer. Therefore, sodium tends to be found in higher amounts in packaged, canned, and already prepared foods. Regular food label reading can help you keep track of your sodium intake and go a long way in keeping you healthy.
- Eat more whole foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Experiment with making your own salad dressings, soups, and sauces.
- Rinse canned and prepared foods whenever possible or try salt-free varieties.
- Remove the salt shaker from the table and use the pepper grinder or a touch of citrus juice instead.
- Use flavorful herbs and spices such as basil, cilantro, cumin, and cayenne pepper both in cooking and at the table.
- Use ShopWell to check food labels for the sodium content in your favorite foods and create a shopping list of your favorite low sodium foods.
Have other suggestions for reducing sodium in your diet? Comment below to tell us your great ideas.