Do you struggle with knowing how to lower sodium? You’re not alone.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recently found about 90% of Americans consume almost 1.5 times more sodium than the recommended amount.
This past year, the federal government issued the new dietary guidelines based on studies over the past 5 years. They found that Americans were averaging about 3,400 mg of sodium–1,100 mg more than the 2,300 mg recommendation.
Heart disease and high blood pressure often result from high sodium consumption over a long period of time. Heart disease stands as the number one reason for death in both men and women in America.
It can be difficult, but here are some ideas on how to lower sodium:
1. Cook at Home More Often
Cooking at home has become less popular these days with the convenience of fast food and easy take out restaurants.
Unfortunately despite the ease of these restaurants, they are generally unhealthier for you and more processed than food you would cook at home from scratch.
Sodium is used in abundance with frozen food and for flavoring. Restaurants and groceries store freezer food can add more sodium in one meal than 2 or 3 meal’s worth of sodium from fresh food.
By cooking at home, you choose all the ingredients that are included in your meal. You can monitor the sodium content to be sure that you’re staying at a reasonable amount and not hurting your arteries.
2. Make Diet Goals
When you make goals and write them down, you feel more accountable to complete them. Making daily goals to cut sodium will help you be more conscientious of how much you are eating at each meal.
For example, if you eat 3,200 mg of sodium a day, try to make a goal to cut back to 2,800 mg. Then slowly work your way down to a healthy amount where you can do it easily.
3. Read Nutrition Labels
Ever see people in the grocery store reading a label before putting it in their cart? You may think they’re crazy or too extreme, but really, they’re smart and careful.
Reading labels is eye opening. They’re there for a reason–to let you know what you’re putting into your body.
Looking before you buy can help you resist those sodium rich foods and opt for a healthier, more natural choice.
4. Choose Different Snacks
Many snacks like salted peanuts, certain snack bars, and chips are ladened with sodium. These salty treats do not hold back on the salt because that’s what makes them taste good or “better.”
However, these snacks generally aren’t filling and leave you craving more.
When looking for snacks, look for unsalted options of nuts or low sodium popcorn. Rice cakes with peanut butter will give you a little salt with protein that is filling.
Using snack time as your way to get in your veggies and fruits helps you choose better options and balance out your diet more efficiently.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking water does wonders for your appetite and your metabolism. A lot of the time, feeling hungry is your body’s want for water.
When you get dehydrated, the sodium content in your blood rises due to lack of water to balance it. Also, when you are dehydrated, your body thinks it wants salty foods.
So, drinking water will reduce your cravings for salty snacks and settle those cravings for more food even though you just ate a big lunch.
However, if you are hungry, don’t hesitate to eat–just learn the difference between the cravings.
Salt is a tempting ingredient on food. It brings out the flavor in foods and sometimes just hits the spot.
Remember, salt is not bad. It just needs to be eaten in moderation, much like most foods. These tips on how to lower sodium can help you be more ready to take on a new low-sodium diet!