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You might be getting more sodium than you need, even if you never pick up the salt shaker. That’s because more than 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods.

Sodium is a mineral that is important for maintaining normal fluid balance in the body. It is found naturally in foods and is also added to certain foods. The daily recommendation of sodium is 2,300 mg per day.

Sodium is an important mineral that performs many essential functions in your body. It’s found naturally in foods like eggs and vegetables and is also the main component of table salt (sodium chloride).

Fresh and frozen vegetables are both good choices. When buying frozen and canned vegetables, choose those labeled as low sodium or without added salt.

Look For Foods Labeled “Low Sodium” Or “No Salt Added

At first, you will find that it will take you a little longer to find the brands and foods that contain the lowest amount of salt when you are shopping. But once you have discovered them, then your shopping trip will take no longer than usual.

Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping to help you choose foods that are lower in sodium.

It’s estimated that at least half of people with hypertension have blood pressure that is affected by sodium consumption. In addition, your risk of salt sensitivity increases with age

The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that because the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium every day, “cutting back just 1,000 milligrams of sodium a day can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.”

What Is A Low-Sodium Diet?

Sodium is an essential mineral involved in many important bodily functions, including cellular function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance and maintaining blood pressure.

It’s no secret that eating too much sodium is bad for your health. Research has shown time and again that a high-salt diet can up your odds for health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

The top 15 low sodium foods are:

  • Grass-Fed Beef
  • Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon
  • Free-Range Eggs
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Fresh Vegetables
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Avocados
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut Kefir
  • Goat Cheese
  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Lentils
  • Unsalted Nuts and Seeds

Taste is not always a good indicator of how “salty” something is. For example, many pieces of bread, breakfast cereals, and bakery products contain sodium even though they don’t taste salty.

Use Fresh, Rather Than Packaged Meats

Fresh cuts of beef, chicken or pork contain natural sodium, but the content is still much less than the hidden extra sodium added during processing in products like bacon or ham.

These foods are often some of the worst offenders, says Gradney:

• Pickles
• Spaghetti sauce
• Ketchup, steak sauce, hot sauce, and other condiments
• Processed Meats
• Bread
• Sports drinks
• Salad dressing
• Boxed mac & cheese or ramen noodles
• Fast foods, or “anything you get at the drive-through”

Use oil and vinegar on salads. Add fresh or dried herbs. Eat fresh fruit or sorbet for dessert, when you have dessert. Take the salt shaker off your table. Replace it with a salt-free seasoning mix.

Again, sodium can crop up where you least expect it so Angelone says it’s important to read the labels on all packaged foods you buy—at least until you get familiar with some options that are lower in sodium.

Eating Less Salt Can Be Difficult At First

Your taste buds are accustomed to a certain level of sodium, and less-salty foods initially seem bland. But your taste buds adapt to eating less salt, and soon food will taste just as flavourful with less salt added.

Over 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods such as cheese, deli meats, pizza, sauces, and soups. Packaged and ready-to-eat foods, fast foods, and restaurant meals are often high in sodium.

Salty snacks inherently encourage overindulgence and enjoyment; they’re delicious, usually portable and easy to pick up on the go. Salt is also often added to low-fat formulations to recapture some of the flavors lost when reducing fat.

Try Making A Simple Vinaigrette At Home

Mix together a splash of olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar. You can keep it that simple, or you can add in a few herbs, such as an Italian seasoning mix.

That’s why it is important to read labels closely. Sodium content is listed per serving size; to be considered a low-sodium serving, it should read 140 mg or less.

Assuming, however, that you’re in good health, a more effective way to balance the sodium in your diet—and increase the nutritional quality of your diet at the same time—might be to increase your potassium intake.

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