Before we get into what to do when following a low sodium diet, let's go into why it may be important to do so in the first place.
First, it's important to note that a main source of sodium is table salt and the average American eats about 4-5 teaspoons a day, which is almost 20 times what the body actually needs. This can come from all sorts of things, including but not limited to canned vegetables, processed meats and convenience or grab and go foods.
Now that's not to say you should eliminate salt completely because even that can be bad and impossible to do, but it does mean you shouldn't cut back (even if it's only a little at a time).
Salt can help with balancing fluid levels, allowing for nerve transition and aids in digestion. You are probably thinking, "Ok? So what's considered a good amount per day?"
Well, almost all health organizations out there say anywhere from about 1,500 mg to about 2,300 mg is best. However, these are 10 things you should know to help reduce salt in your diet.
1. Avoid meats high in preservations (those that may be deli/cured and processed)
Sodium is often one of the main preserves in these types of products. Also look at pre-canned and pre-packaged items for the same reason.
2. Know what the difference is between "Light in Sodium" and "Sodium-free"
And anything else that has a variation of these two things. Here is a link to a website with that information.
3. Cut back on salting and certain types of other seasonings
The truth is you can't completely avoid sodium because many foods have it naturally but you can (if you want to) avoid adding more by not drowning your food in salt.
4. Add more potassium to your diet
Eating foods high in potassium, like bananas, can help lower blood pressure and helps replace those with high sodium.
5. Salt is salt, no matter what type you use
Pink salt, sea salt and regular table salt are all the same and using one over the others makes no difference.
6. Be aware of items that don't taste salty but still do have a high sodium content
Items such as cheese, some breakfast cereals, bread, and tomato sauce.
7. Buy fresh foods from the grocery store
Here is a guided list to help you get started.
These, of course, aren't the only things you can do and there are plenty of other options out there. But these are just a few you can do to start.
"Reducing dietary salt is not only important for those who already have elevated blood pressure - limiting added salt is essential for all of us to remain in good health." ~ Joel Fuhrman