Previously we have addressed the amount of sugar and fiber you should have in your diet. Today, we are tackling sodium.
Along with fat and cholesterol, the FDA cites sodium as a major factor in the onset of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, most people exceed the recommended amount of sodium intake on a daily basis. The recommend less than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day while most people often consume about 3400 milligrams of sodium every day.
Cutting table salt out of your diet is a way to reduce your sodium intake, however, table salt is almost never the largest source of sodium in your diet. In reality, most of the sodium you consume comes from processed foods and restaurant foods. Sodium is a common food preservative used to keep the freshness in processed foods like sauces and soups, condiments and seasonings, canned foods, and frozen entrees.
A lot of foods are marketed as having reduced sodium, low sodium, or even being sodium-free. If a product is “sodium-free” it has less than 5 mg of sodium. If the product is “low sodium,” each serving has 35 mg of sodium or less. Products marked as having “reduced sodium” contain at least 25 percent less sodium than the regular version of the product.
You can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by:
- Swapping out processed foods for fresh food, like fresh green beans instead of canned green beans
- Choose unsalted butter or margarine instead of salted
- Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt
- Choose meat that you prepare yourself, instead of processed deli meats or hot dogs
- Paying special attention to the sodium content listed on the Nutrition Label of your foods so you can monitor your intake