Many of us consume far more salt than we need to. The average adult only needs about 2,400 mg of sodium daily, and in the U.S., the average salt intake is 4,000 mg a day. Cutting down on your intake just calls for being more aware and selective of what you eat. Read on to learn how to trim salt easily from your diet.
High blood pressure (which can lead to heart disease and stroke) is one of the main dangers of consuming too much salt, as many of us are doing. You might be surprised to learn, however, that it’s not the salt shaker that’s at the root of our overconsumption, but rather the processed foods we’re eating. In fact, a whopping three-quarters of the salt we consume comes from processed foods.
Here are simple ways you can reduce your sodium intake.
Check the nutrional-facts label and the ingredients
The label will indicate how much sodium the product contains, by weight or volume. Also, have a read of the ingredients list: salt may be listed as salt, sodium, sodium chloride or monosodium glutamate.
Skimp on sauces and dressings
Pour sauce and dressing sparingly, as these can often be high in salt (soy sauce is an excellent example of a sauce that’s high in sodium). When dining out, request your sauce and dressing on the side so you can control the amount you eat.
Opt for less-salty snacks and foods
Potato chips, salted nuts, many crackers, cheese, bacon, pickles — these popular snacks and foods are high in salt. Try switching to unsalted or low-sodium versions, or switch to different snacks altogether, such as dried or fresh fruit, a whole-grain slice of bread with natural peanut butter, or some carrots with hummus.
Use more herbs and spices
Go lighter on the salt you add when cooking and add a flavourful punch by using a variety of fresh or dried herbs and spices instead.
Taste before you salt
So many of us automatically reach for the salt shaker, drowning our meal in a sea of salt before even tasting the dish! Have a few bites first, and decide if your meal truly needs more salt before that shaker is even in your hand.
Look for reduced-sodium products
Canned vegetables, soups and the like can be quite high in salt. The good news is that many now come in reduced-sodium versions. For chicken stock, make your own; or, if you don’t have time, get the low-salt version. Chances are you will not even notice the difference in taste.