How To Reduce Your Sodium Intake
It’s important at any point of life, but particularly as you age, to be sure you’re eating a reduced amount of sodium.
THE STORY: When you hear the word “sodium”, you likely automatically think of salt. And sodium is salt, but reducing how much you consume isn’t only a matter of cutting back on the table salt. That’s because you’ll find sodium in so many places, including processed foods that are often high in sodium. So, how can you ensure you’re eating less sodium?
WHY TOO MUCH SODIUM IS BAD FOR US: Too much sodium in our diets can lead to a plethora of health issues, such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. It can also cause a loss of calcium in the body, which can lead to osteoporosis. There are good things about sodium, too; it balances the water and minerals in our bodies and helps muscles relax. The problem, though, is that we only need approximately 500mg of sodium a day, but on average Americans consume 3400mg a day.
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR SODIUM INTAKE: If you’re one of those people taking in way more sodium than you need, then it’s time to make a change in your diet. Here are some simple ways you can reduce your sodium intake.
• Eat fresh, not packaged or processed meats. Fresh meat will still contain sodium, but it will be much less than its packaged counterparts.
• Use low-sodium versions of condiments, such as soy sauce and ketchup.
• Eat more fresh fruit and veggies.
• Compare nutrition labels. No matter what you’re purchasing, check the label to see just how much sodium it has. Then check comparable foods to see if they have less sodium.
• Instead of adding salt to foods when cooking, use spices, citrus juice, vinegar, or herbs. You’ll soon find you don’t miss the salt at all!
• Eat more foods that contain potassium (sweet potatoes, greens, tomatoes) as potassium counteracts sodium. It could help lower your blood pressure.
• When buying any type of meal (frozen, dining out, meal delivery), look for ones that are labeled low-sodium.
THE ROUND-UP: Don’t let hidden sodium knock you for a loop! Be aware of what you’re eating and how much sodium it contains. This way you can lower your blood pressure, reduce calcium loss, and lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cutting sodium may be somewhat challenging at first, but with a bit of time, you’ll find you don’t miss it at all!