There are many reasons why salt intake should be limited. Salt (sodium chloride) is a major contributor to high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease. Health benefits of eating less salt include:
- Lowering blood pressure (BP)
- Reducing risk of dying from a stroke
- Reversal of heart enlargement
- Reducing risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Limiting salt intake is a challenging endeavor, but can definitely be achieved if you follow few simple steps:
- No salt shaker!
- Reduce or eliminate salt in cooking.
- Salts subs contain potassium. Check with your doctor if they are safe for you.
- Try herbs, spices, garlic, onions, or lemon instead.
- Read Labels! Canned, bottled, “instant”, premixed, processed and frozen foods are usually high in salt. Rinse canned foods; but even better, eat fresh!
- As a general rule, 2300 mg of sodium a day or less is a good target. Look for “no salt added” foods.
- Dining out? Request the food be prepared without salt, have dressings or sauces on the side, and avoid bacon bits, cheese, and croutons at the salad bar.
- Avoid fast food restaurants!
- Reduce portion size.
- Read about The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
- Water softeners remove calcium and add sodium to drinking water. Do not drink softened water.
- Don’t fall for it! Table Salt, sea salt, kosher salt all contain the same chemical product sodium chloride (NaCl). Sodium bicarbonate known as baking soda has sodium too, but is only used in certain medical conditions.