Most people have no idea how much sodium they really consume. High sodium diets can have a tremendous affect on your health, water retention, and mood. No one wants to look bloated, feel tired, and stressed. So, here are some tips for lowering your daily intake.
The recommendation for salt in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the American Heart Association is 2,400 milligrams (mg) daily for adults. This is the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt (2,300 mg to be exact). The average American consumes 5,000 mg of salt daily — twice the necessary amount. Normal salt balance can be maintained with 500 mg daily (or a little more than one-fourth teaspoon of salt), so Americans are eating ten times as much as they really need.
Buying low-salt foods
The Food and Drug Administration has definite guidelines as to the terms a food company can use when describing the salt in the food on the label. Keep these terms in mind and make a point of buying low-salt foods on your next trip to the grocery store.
- Sodium free means less than 5 mg sodium in a portion.
- Very low sodium means less than 35 mg sodium in a portion.
- Low sodium means less than 140 mg sodium in a portion.
- Reduced sodium food contains 25 percent less sodium than the original food item.
- Light in sodium food has 50 percent less sodium than the original food item.
- Unsalted, No salt added, or Without added salt means absolutely no salt has been added to a food that’s normally processed with salt.
Avoiding high-salt foods
The following processed foods are particularly high in salt. Steer clear of these heavily laced edibles as much as possible. Fortunately, after many years of urging and recommendations from health organizations, manufacturers have begun to lower the salt in foods, so you may find several of these foods in a low-salt form. Check the food label.
- Bouillon cubes
- Canned soup
- Canned tuna
- Canned vegetables
- Cold cuts
- Cooking sauces
- Cottage cheese
- Hot dogs
- Salad dressings
- Sea salt
- Soy sauce
- Spaghetti sauce
- Tomato or vegetable juice (credit)
Water retention can not only make you feel horrible it can also cause weight gain. Next time you step on the scale don’t be shocked to see a couple extra pounds if you are eating a diet high in sodium. If you are going for the lean, chiseled look then low sodium is the way to go!