Low sodium diet
The main source of sodium is table salt. The average American eats five teaspoons or more of salt a day. This is about 20 times the body requirement. In fact, your body only needs 1/4 teaspoon of salt a day. Sodium is naturally present in food, but large amounts of sodium are added during processing and preparation. Many non-salty foods may still contain high sodium. Large amounts of sodium may be hidden in canned foods, processed foods, and convenience foods. Sodium can be found in many foods served in fast food restaurants.
Sodium controls the fluid balance in our body and maintains blood volume and blood pressure. Excessive sodium intake may increase blood pressure and cause fluid retention, which can lead to swelling of the legs and feet or other health problems.
When limiting sodium in the diet, a common goal is to consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day.
General guidelines for reducing salt
- Eliminate salty foods in the diet and reduce the amount of salt used in cooking. Sea salt is no better than ordinary salt.
- Choose low-sodium foods. Many salt-free or reduced-salt products are available. When reading food labels, low sodium is defined as 140 mg of sodium per serving.
- Salt substitutes are sometimes made of potassium, so please read the label. If you are on a low-potassium diet, please consult your doctor before using these salt substitutes.
- Be creative and season your food with spices, herbs, lemon, garlic, ginger, vinegar and pepper. Remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Read the ingredient label to identify high-sodium foods. Items containing 400 mg or more of sodium have higher sodium content. High-sodium food additives include salt, brine, or other items that contain sodium, such as monosodium glutamate.
- Eat more home-cooked food. Foods cooked from scratch are naturally lower in sodium than most instant and boxed mixtures.
- Do not use demineralized water for cooking and drinking, because it contains salt.
- Avoid drugs that contain sodium, such as Alka Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer.
- Want to find more information; food composition book can explain the sodium content in food. Online resources such as www.caloriking.com also list the numbers.
Meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
- Smoked, cured, cured or canned meats, fish or poultry, including bacon, cold cuts, ham, frankfurters, sausages, sardines, caviar and anchovies
- Frozen breaded meats and dinners, such as burritos and pizza
- Canned main dishes such as wontons, spam and chili
- Salted nuts
- Canned beans with salt
- Any fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish
- Eggs and egg substitutes
- Low Sodium Peanut Butter
- Dried peas and beans (not canned)
- Canned low-sodium fish
- Canned fish or poultry packed in drained, water or oil
- Regular and processed cheeses, cheese sauces and sauces
- cottage cheese
- Milk, yogurt, ice cream and ice milk
- Low-sodium cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese
Bread, cereals and cereals
- Bread and salted rolls
- Instant bread, self-raising flour, biscuits, pancakes and waffle mixes
- Pizza, croutons and crackers
- Pre-packaged processed mixtures for potatoes, rice, pasta and fillings
- Bread, bagels and unsalted rolls
- Muffins and most instant cereals
- All rice and pasta, but do not add salt when cooking
- Low-sodium corn and flour tortillas and noodles
- Low-sodium biscuits and breadsticks
- Unsalted popcorn, french fries and pretzels
vegetables and fruits
- Ordinary canned vegetables and vegetable juice
- Olives, pickles, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables
- Vegetables made with ham, bacon or salted pork
- Packaged mixtures, such as scallops or baked potatoes, frozen hash browns, and Tater Tots
- Commercially prepared pasta, tomato sauce and salsa
- Fresh and frozen vegetables without sauces
- Low-sodium canned vegetables, sauces and juices
- Fresh potatoes, frozen French fries and instant mashed potatoes
- Low-salt tomato or V-8 juice.
- Most fresh, frozen and canned fruits
- dried fruit
- Ordinary canned and dehydrated soups, broths and broths
- A cup of noodles and seasoned ramen mix
- Low-sodium canned and dehydrated soups, broths and broths
- Homemade soup without salt
Fats, desserts and sweets
- Soy sauce, seasoning salt, other sauces and marinades
- Bottled salad dressing, ordinary salad dressing with chopped bacon
- Salted butter or margarine
- Instant pudding and cake
- Most ketchup, mustard
- Vinegar, unsalted butter or margarine
- Vegetable oil and low-sodium sauces and salad dressings
- No salt in all desserts