The Beginner’s Guide to a Low Sodium Diet

If you are reading this, the chances are that you need help in changing your diet. You will find you are not alone if you are trying to ditch the salt from your eating plan.  Did you know that 40 percent of global population and 30 percent of Americans are suffering from high blood pressure? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a huge risk factor for heart problems, even though it is a common diagnosis.

But, there is a way to prevent this disease by reducing the amount of salt in your everyday diet. We know that this ingredient helps preserve food better, masks off and enhances flavors, but it is high in sodium. Too much of it can lead to heart issues.

Sodium’s role is to help with nerve signaling and muscle contraction and regulate fluid balance. But it also has an effect on the blood pressure. And having an eating program that is high in sodium, will affect your health.

So, there are legitimate reasons to limit your intake of salt to a reasonable level. Our low sodium diet will help you cut back if you think you are consuming it too much.

If you want to know more and make some changes in your diet, all you have to do is read on.

image of salt

Why We Need Salt?

Here is an interesting fact – we have almost 40 tsp. of salt in our body every day. Sodium can be found in minerals such as rock salt or halite, and in seawater. In order for our body to function correctly, we need this ingredient as an electrolyte. Some of its responsibilities are aiding in digestion, allowing for nerve transmission and balancing the body’s fluid levels.

You can find it in human semen, tears, blood, urine, and sweat. Without it, our mineral and water levels would get way out of control, absorbing nutrients wouldn’t be efficient as they used to, we wouldn’t be able to move muscles, and our nerves would stop working.

That opens up the question – what is a healthy intake of salt?

divider

Recommended Intakes of Sodium

Health companies and organization has different opinions about sodium, but they all agree that the acceptable and reasonable range is between 1500 and 2300 mg per one day. What we lose during daily body functions, it can be replenished by a fraction of the amount we have mentioned.

And did you know that most people consume almost 2 times more than this recommended dose? To be precise, they eat about 3500 mg of salt per day. And if you are not active and doesn’t sweat much, then that is terrible news for your blood pressure.

That means your heart needs to work more than usual to pump the blood, straining organs and arteries in the process. Lowering the intake of salt can improve your health by decreasing hypertension and blood pressure levels.

This Low Sodium Diet Is Not For Every Person

Before you start with low sodium diet, you need to speak with your doctor first. If your levels of blood pressure are good, but you want to lower your triglycerides and LDL, this eating program is not for you. Also, individuals with diabetes also need to consult their doctor before they start following this diet.

Tips for Following Low Sodium Diet

1. Start Slowly

You can start this diet by slashing 1000 mg per day. Why is that important? Some people who have used to consume 4000 mg of salt per day, won’t enjoy their meals if they start eating 2000 mg of sodium. Give yourself and your tongue time to adjust to this new eating plan.

Then if you want to slash more, all you have to do is be patient and do that slowly until you reach your goal level of salt intake. As we have mentioned earlier, the right amount for a healthy adult is between 1500 and 2300 mg per day. You just need to decide how much sodium intake you want to slash.

Start Slowly

2. Avoid Processed Food

That is the first thing you should do because processed food is full of salt and it is not healthy. The more processed is, the more sodium it contains. About 70 percent of the salt you consume from your daily diet comes from these meals.

So, you need to purchase fresh whenever it is possible. It is healthy, and it is excellent for weight loss.

3. Consume More Homemade Food

There is nothing better than a delicious homemade meal. When you make your food at home, you are able to substitute the spices you have used for salt and choose some other healthier ingredients. You will be surprised how great your dish tastes when you add fresh basil, lemon or garlic instead of salt.

And the advantage is that you will feel accomplished, healthy and trim. But, we know that sometimes busy workers or parents, just don’t have enough time to cook healthy food and complete all their daily chores. That is where meal delivery service such as diet to go.com comes to the rescue.

This company will prepare the food you choose and deliver it to your doorstep. All of their ingredients are fresh, organic, non-GMO and preservatives free. All you have to do is subscribe to their eating program, choose the right meals for you, and they will do the rest.

4. Practice Low Sodium Cooking

When preparing your own low sodium meals, you need to follow some necessary steps. First of all, you need to rinse all canned vegetables and beans under cold water before you prepare them. Always season the dishes with herbs and spices instead of salt. You can use lemon zest, chili powder, black pepper, garlic, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, basil oregano, rosemary and many more. These ingredients will add a flavor to your meals.

Also, instead of salt, you can use vinegar and citrus juices in marinades and sauces. And the last advice is to add less baking powder or baking soda because they contain a high amount of sodium.

image of spices

5. Rinse the Canned Food

Choosing the canned vegetables may not be the best idea, but if you are buying them, there are a few rules you need to follow. Firstly make sure not to buy the ones that have added salt or the ones that are seasoned. Secondly, before you add them to the meals, rinse them under cold water to remove the salt residue.

After you have done that correctly, you will slash the intake of sodium when you consume this canned food. But, we recommend not to buy them because it is always better and healthier to purchase fresh vegetables.

6. Double Check Labels

Knowing the labels that go into buying packaged or canned goods will slash salt from your eating plan. Bear in mind always to check them out before you purchase anything. Here are few terms:

  • Sodium Free: this food contains less than 5 mg of salt per one serving
  • Very Low: 35 mg or less per one serving
  • Low: 140 mg or less per one serving
  • Lightly Salted: this food contains 50 percent less salt compared to the original serving

NOTE: Avoid using soft water for cooking or drinking when you are on this diet because it contains much more sodium than hard water.

5. Ask Questions When You Eat Outside

That is very important when you are on sticking to this meal plan. Every time you are in a restaurant, you should ask the waiter which meals are prepared without added salt. Eating only healthy meals in restaurants would be wise.  Roasted entrees and fresh steamed vegetables should be ordered over sautéed, gratin or fried food.

We know that this is maybe too much, but it is essential for your diet. And not only you will eat healthily, but this food is also great for weight loss.

divider

Conclusion

Regardless of your blood pressure numbers, eating less sodium is healthier for just about every individual. Our guide will help you cut out salt slowly and adjust to the new diet plan easily. We want people to make healthy choices and don’t let the food to control them. It is not about never eating salty meals again; it just means lowering the sodium intake. And as we mentioned in this article, it is excellent for your heart and blood pressure health.