A recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that excessive salt intake could be to blame for 1 in 10 US deaths and 2.3 million deaths worldwide in 2010.
The link between high sodium intake and heart disease is not a new idea. A high sodium diet has long been linked to high blood pressure, which is the number one risk factor for heart disease and stroke in adults. The good news is that reducing salt intake can lower blood pressure, so changes in your diet now can reduce your risk of developing heart disease later.
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans reduce their salt intake to 2,300 mg per day for the general population, compared to an actual average intake of 3,400 mg per day. The recommendations are even lower (1,500 mg per day) for adults over 51 years of age, African Americans, and adults and children with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Salt is lurking in places you might not suspect, and even in foods that are otherwise generally “healthy.” The top six source of sodium in the American diet are breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, and sandwiches.
So how can you easily reduce your sodium intake to the recommended levels and slash your risk of heart disease?
Follow these 5 Quick Tips to Reduce Your Sodium Intake:
- Cook more meals at home
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77% of Americans’ salt intake comes from processed foods and meals eaten away from home. A restaurant meal or frozen dinner can contain up to 100% of you daily suggested sodium intake. By cooking at home, you can have better control over the amount of salt in your food.
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be complicated – let eMeals simplify dinner. Our meal plans provide you with everything you need to prepare home cooked meals every night of the week, including a weekly shopping list and seven quick and easy recipes.
- Pick fresh first
Follow the MyPlate guidelines, and fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetable are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. Potassium counters the effects of sodium and helps to reduce blood pressure. Prepare fresh poultry, pork, fish, and lean beef rather than purchasing cold cuts and canned meats, which contain salt added during processing.
The eMeals Clean Eating meal plan incorporates fresh, minimally-processed ingredients in time-saving, easy-to-prepare dishes, making it simple to eat fresh every day.
- Read Nutrition Facts labels
Before you buy a product, check the food label for the milligrams of sodium per serving. Compare that amount to the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg per day to see how each food fits into your daily sodium allotment. Also compare different products and brands, and choose the one with the lowest amount of sodium. Look for products labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added” when possible.
- Cook smart
- Instead of seasoning all your foods with salt, try flavorful alternatives such as fresh herbs, spices, garlic, lemon and lime juice, and salt-free seasonings.
- Drain and rinse canned foods before using them. Rinsing canned beans cuts the amount of sodium by a whopping 40%.
- Make your own salad dressings, sauces, and soups.
- Order wisely
When eating out, ask for the nutrition information if available, and choose a lower sodium option. You can also ask that no salt be added to your meal during preparation. Split a meal with someone else to cut the amount of sodium in half. Order salad dressings on the side, and use condiments sparingly.
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