Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top 5 Strategies To Reduce Your Sodium Consumption

           The impact of sodium on health has been a very hot topic in the nutritional literature of late.  Public health efforts to reduce sodium in our foods are becoming more and more focused.  In years past, sodium restriction was only recommended for those with hypertension.  It is now becoming clear that we all should be limiting our sodium intake.  High sodium diets have been associated with hypertension, stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and even gastric cancer.  A good goal is 1500 mg of sodium per day.  The typical American gets 3400 mg.  We’ve clearly got some work to do.  Here are the top 5 strategies to reduce your sodium consumption.

1) Limit Processed Food 
The vast majority of the sodium that we consume comes from processed, pre-packaged food.  If you eat most of your food in its natural form, you’ll be reducing your sodium dramatically.  Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, vegetable fats like oils and nuts, legumes and whole grains for the majority of your calories and you will significantly reduce your sodium levels.

2) Eat Out Less
            One thing that I always stress to my clients is that when they are deciding on what to eat, the main goal is to pick foods that are healthy for them.  When you eat out at a restaurant, the main goal of the chef is to make the food taste as good as possible, so you’ll want to come back for another visit.  This means you are getting much higher levels of flavor enhancing sugar, salt and fat when you eat out.  Eat as many meals in your home as possible and your salt consumption will plummet.

3) Choose Low Sodium Versions Of Foods When You Can
            Low sodium versions of many foods are available and you can find more and more of them in grocery stores every day.  Admittedly, it does take a little while to get used to the lower sodium level, but after a short period of time you don’t even really notice the difference.  Look for low sodium black beans, soups, turkey breast, turkey bacon, nuts, nut butters, etc.  You can reduce your sodium levels drastically by just making a few changes when low sodium options present themselves.

4) Don’t Add Any Salt To Your Food At The Table
            Even better, don’t even have a salt shaker on your table.

5) Limit Fast Food
            Fast food restaurants are a major source of sodium in the American diet.  Limit fast food to an occasional treat and you’ll reduce your sodium intake dramatically.

1 comment:

Dr. J said...

All good. I would also like to suggest using water to dilute or soak the salt out of foods, prn :-)