One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to come up with monthly “resolutions” for myself and for anyone who follows this blog. Cooking Light magazine (which is one of my favorite sources of recipes and ideas for healthy living) had the same idea, so I am shamelessly borrowing their healthy habits! This month’s healthy habit is to eat less salt.
Adding salt to taste in your own food is one thing. “Hidden” salt in processed food is a totally different matter. Restricting salt is important for salt sensitive people to prevent or treat hypertension.
Different people have different sensitivities to salt. Somewhere between 10% and 25% of the population are salt sensitive. (this increases to 60% in people with hypertension).
The average American consumes around 4000mg of salt each day. “The 2010 update of the Dietary Guidelines recommends adults limit their daily intake to less than 2,300mg, the equivalent of just 1 teaspoon of salt. The limit for those at risk of high blood pressure—African-Americans, people with hypertension, and anyone over the age of 51—was lowered to 1,500mg. “
How to decrease your sodium intake
- Use 75% of what you usually use on your food or in cooking – you won’t notice the difference, but it will add up.
- Cook at home. Avoid fast food!!
- Become “salt aware”. Prepared foods will always have more sodium than fresh foods. Here’s a great chart from colostate.edu that shows the differences.
Salad dressings – up to 350mg per serving
Frozen dinners or entrees – 600 to 1600 mg
Soy sauce – 1000mg per tablespoon
Prepared snacks – chips, pretzels, microwave popcorn, etc – 300-600 per oz!
Pickles – 1000mg in a big dill pickle!
Canned vegetables – 150-350 mg per cup