You’ve no doubt heard that salt’s bad for you. While the truth is your body needs salt, too much can be very bad for you.
On average, Americans eat 4,000-5,000 mg of salt every day, and your body only needs about 500 mg a day. That’s a big difference. One that can be a big problem if you have high blood pressure.
And it’s not just about what you add to your food. 75% of your sodium intake comes from processed foods. Salt adds flavor and keeps things fresh, so food manufacturers use a lot of it.
A study in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, found a high-salt diet may decrease how well meds used to treat high blood pressure work.
So, if you’re currently taking meds for or have high blood pressure, a low-salt diet could help them work.
Clean Up Your Diet
While you might want to talk to your doctor before you drastically cut back on salt, there are a lot of things you can do yourself to cut back that are good for you no matter what.
- Stop buying heavily processed foods like corn oil and soda.
- Shop around the outside edge of the grocery store and you’ll hit all the spots with the freshest foods.
- Read food labels. Those with fewer and simpler ingredients are best. The longer the list, the more room there is for chemicals, sugar, salt, and oils.
- Cook more at home. Restaurants, especially chains, use heavily processed foods.
- Train your tongue. If you are used to salt, sugar, and fat, you’ll need time to appreciate the flavor of natural foods.
- Add other seasonings and flavors to keep your meals delicious and interesting:
- Allspice: Look for a low- or no-sodium options for seasoning meats, gravy, and even tomatoes.
- Almond Extract: Great for puddings, desserts, and fruit.
- Basil: Sprinkle on some fresh or dried basil to add a kick to fish, lamb, salads, soups, and sauces.
- Chives: Add a light onion flavor to salads, sauces, sides, and soups.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is good for you and very flavorful.
- Ginger: Try this on chicken and fish.
- Lemon Juice: Make your lean meats and fish pop.
- Dry Mustard: Add to meat, marinades, homemade salad dressings, and veggies.
- Onion Powder: Good for marinades, meat, and veggies.
Eating a low-sodium diet can be easy and delicious, it just takes a little planning and great recipes. Visit our Pinterest to find all kinds of healthy recipes you can make at home.