4 Tips for Reducing Your Salt Intake
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical problem that affects millions of Americans each year. Many treat hypertension with a wide range of pharmaceuticals. However, medical professionals believe that diet and exercise can help control hypertension.
One of the most important dietary recommendations is to reduce salt intake. However, in our culture where fast food and processed foods are a go-to option, cutting salt intake can be challenging. Below are some steps that people can take to cut the salt in their diet.
Tip #1: Understand Target Salt Consumption
The first step in reducing salt intake is to understand what the target salt intake should be. The World Health Organization states that a person, particularly one with high blood pressure, should have less than 5 grams of salt per day. You’re probably wondering, what does 5 grams of salt look like? In everyday terms, this is less than one teaspoon. The American Heart Association, on the other hand, sets a target of less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
If you’re not sure what your intake should be, ask your doctor. Once you understand the goal that you’re working towards, it’ll be easier to follow the next few tips on the list.
Tip #2: Be a Smart Shopper
If you want to reduce your daily sodium intake, it’s important to be a smart shopper. You may think that you know what foods are high in sodium. However, sodium lurks in some unexpected places. For example, many people know that canned soups are high in sodium. But, how many people know that the bread that you use for grilled cheese can also be super high in sodium?
Given these hidden sodium sources, it’s important that you always read labels when shopping at the grocery store.
Tip #3: Think Before You Salt
Smart shopping is essential, but it’s also imperative that you think about how you are preparing food.
- When possible, use fresh fruits and vegetables rather than frozen or canned alternatives.
- Often people mindlessly add salt while they are cooking. When feasible, avoid doing this. Think about alternative seasoning options, such as allspice, basil, and ginger, among others.
- If you want to reduce temptation even further, consider removing salt shakers from your kitchen table.
Tip #4: Carefully Weigh Your Options at Restaurants
Even when you’re doing well at home with reducing your sodium intake, it can be easy to fall into the salt trap when visiting restaurants. This means that it’s important to carefully weigh your options before you order from the menu. Remember, for example, that even though soup sounds healthy, it is often high in sodium. In addition, many salad dressings are high in sodium.
If you see something appealing on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask your server if the kitchen can prepare it without salt or as a low sodium version.
Reducing Salt Makes a Big Difference
Reducing salt intake can make a big difference for people diagnosed with hypertension. By lowering your salt intake and managing your blood pressure, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. When you use the tips above, you can take better control of your health and become the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.