When you need to cut down on your salt intake, it can seem completely daunting to cut out the most popular spice. It gives lots of flavor to food, and it can seem impossible to enjoy eating without it. However, we assure you that it can be a completely doable task and that you can even still enjoy delicious, low-sodium meals.
Heeding a salt-free diet doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never experience a tasty meal again, but it can legitimately save your life. Salt, aka sodium chloride, is a leading diet cause in high blood pressure, and the easiest to reduce. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. The dietary salt reduction isn’t the only way to lower blood pressure—exercise, an all-around more balanced diet, and a lack of a genetic predisposition are all risk-lowering as well. However, exercise is difficult for many, and genetic risk is out of our hands. Eating a balanced diet is a great start, and cutting sodium is a fantastic first step.
Many people have an all-or-nothing mentality that seems to translate “low sodium diet” to cutting out salt completely. However, sodium does have its place in our diet. It is a great source of iodine, an essential nutrient that is lacking in many Americans’ diets, and of course, it’s an equally great source of flavor as well. As long as there is a balance, salt does not have to be completely eradicated from your diet. A good doctor should tell you how much sodium is best for your personal intake. You may be prescribed a 2-gram sodium diet, which is really no more than a hair under the typical intake.
More good news: the sooner you start your low-sodium diet, the sooner you will acclimate to it. That’s right; you can get used to the lack of sodium in your diet, the same way you became used to salty foods in the first place. Salt is an acquired taste, after all, and no-salt should be no different!
Here are some ways to cut the sodium and still look forward to mealtime.
One level teaspoon of salt is 2,300 mg of sodium. If you have been prescribed 2 grams of sodium per day in your diet, you’ll need slightly less than this across your day. The recommendation for sodium intake for adults prescribed by the USDA is 1500mg (about 2/3 teaspoon) for young adults, 1300mg (a little over ½ teaspoon) for adults 50-70 years old, and 1200 mg/day (a smidge over ½ teaspoon) for people 71 years and older. The average American eats 4,000mg of salt a day!
One easy and essential way to lowering your sodium intake is to read those nutrition labels and choose options with lower sodium. This is easier for processed foods, which tend to be very high in sodium, to begin with.
Because processed foods are higher in sodium, the easiest way to truly control your salt intake is by buying fresh foods—produce (fruits and vegetables), meats, grains, and anything else you cook with. You can then know exactly how much sodium is going into your food because you are measuring and adding it yourself. This gives you the absolute most control over your own diet—and how much flavor goes into it, salt or no salt.
Not all spices are high in sodium. There are many delicious herbs and spices replacement to give your food a whole new level of complex and scrumptious flavors that you never knew possible when you were tethered to salt. Onions, garlic, ginger, and oregano have strong, zesty flavors that can amp up your flavor profile and make you forgot you ever even liked salt, to begin with. Be aware that some seasonings found at your grocery store can contain salt, so it’s best to use single-ingredient seasonings.
If you do add salt to your food, make sure you put it where you want it the most. Seasoning meats or vegetables with salt is fine, but if you stick to your doctor’s recommendations (which we strongly advise), you’ll want to divide the deliciousness effectively.
There are many ways to enjoy your meals with a low-sodium diet, and we are more than happy to assist you in your dietary needs with the best catering services and prices in Lakeland.
The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.