How to Reduce Your Sodium Intake – Advice From the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
Every day, you consume sodium, which your body needs in certain quantities to help maintain water and mineral balances as well as blood volume. However, too much sodium can have negative effects on your health, such as increased blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Because sodium occurs naturally in foods like meats, nuts, grains, and dairy, and is otherwise abundant in our food supply, the average American gets sufficient sodium to meet his or her daily needs (approximately 1,500 milligrams) – and much more than that recommended for healthy living. Some experts recommend that adults limit their daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams, which is equivalent to about one teaspoon of table salt.
Here are some simple ways to cut back on sodium in your diet:
- Cook from scratch so you’ll know exactly what’s in your food. If a recipe calls for salt, try halving the amount.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- When grocery shopping, avoid processed foods (anything that comes in a box or bag), which usually contain high amounts of sodium to increase shelf life and enhance flavor. Read labels vigilantly and choose foods that are labeled “sodium free,” “low sodium,” or “reduced sodium.” Avoid instant foods like pasta, rice, cereal, and frozen dinners, which usually contain extra salt.
- Rinse canned foods to remove some of the added salt.
- Remove the salt shaker from your dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, and salt-free blends. Try introducing additional flavor to your meals with garlic, pepper, oregano, basil, sesame, or thyme.
- Dress your salad with oil and vinegar – some salad dressings contain a whopping 700 milligrams of sodium per 1.5-ounce serving.
- Limit your consumption of olives, pickles, and other foods packed in brine, as well as smoked and cured meats, such as bologna and salami.
- When dining out, fresh steamed vegetables and roasted entrees are usually good choices. Also, ask your server which menu items are prepared without added salt.
- Keep in mind that fast foods are typically loaded with salt, so if you must indulge, be sure to keep your portions in check.
Remember that your taste buds have probably become accustomed to salt over time, so cutting down on your consumption might take a little getting used to. Your health and well-being are worth the effort, though – and eventually, you won’t even miss it!
For further information about health and wellness, or if you would like to see a physician, please feel free to contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.