Healthy Diet Guidelines

Guide to a Healthier You

10 Tips to Reduce Sodium

 
 

Since we can't predict who benefits from reducing sodium intake to prevent hypertension, it probably won't hurt for everyone to cut down on salt and high sodium foods. Here are 10 recommendations:


  • Reduce or omit salt in cooking (e.g., rice, pasta) and at the table. Avoid sea salt.


  • Instead of salt, use other herbs and spices like garlic or onion (avoid onion or garlic salt). Squirt fruit juice (e.g., lemon or lime) or herbed vinegar on salads or cooked vegetables. Mix the 3 P's - peppers, parsley and paprika - and add other spices to taste. Check labels on spices to avoid ingredients containing sodium (e.g., monosodium glutamate).


  • Rinse high sodium canned foods like beans, tuna or vegetables for 3 mins. with cold water to reduce sodium by 40% to 80%. Soak kosher meats for one hour before cooking.


  • Use sauces, dressings, gravies and condiments sparingly, or serve them on the side. Add fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomato and onions to sandwiches.


  • Fry in vegetable oils (sodium free) or unsalted butter or margarine. To marinate meats, use wine, lemon or flavored vinegar.


  • Offer foods naturally low in sodium: fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fish and poultry, and unprocessed grains. Avoid instant cereals high in sodium.


  • Serve low sodium versions of processed or canned foods like cheese, soups, snacks (e.g., nuts, crackers), vegetables, cold cuts and vegetable juices.


  • Limit smoked, cured, or pickled foods like meats (e.g., hot dogs, bacon, sausage), fish and pickles. Instead of pickles, offer cucumber spears.


  • Prepare soup with seasonings other than salt. To make broth, use low sodium bouillon cubes.


  • Check food labels carefully for sodium content. The legal definitions are:


  • Salt-free or sodium-free: less than 5 mg. per serving.


  • Low sodium: 140 mg. or less per serving


  • Reduced or Less sodium: at least 25% less sodium than similar food


  • Light in sodium: 50% less sodium than similar food


  • Unsalted or No Salt Added: No salt added in processing (not sodium-free)




Common sodium-containing compounds


  • Baking powder

  • Baking soda

  • Brine

  • Monosodium glumate (MSG)

  • Sodium acetate

  • Sodium alginate

  • Sodium benzoate

  • Sodium citrate

  • Sodium chloride (NaC1, table salt)

  • Sodium propionate

  • Sodium sulfite



Salt is about 40% sodium (Na). 1 teaspoon weighs 6 gm and would provide 2.4 gm (2400 mg) of sodium (Na) 2,000-3,000 mg (80-130 mEq) of sodium (Na) is a mild restriction.


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