One possible lifestyle modification we can do is to shift to a diet that is healthier and more balanced. This includes going low on the sodium. But how does one start with a diet that is low in sodium? In this, article we will look at how people can start with a low sodium diet and the health benefits of such a diet.
Health and wellness are both important for all individuals. However, it is also true that people have different statuses in terms of health conditions and issues simply because people have different genetic makeup and different lifestyle choices as well. While there is only so much we can do for our genetic disposition, a lot can be done for our lifestyle choices such as the type of food we eat and the amount of exercise we can get.
Low Sodium Diet: A General Overview
Consuming reduced amounts of sodium is better for all individuals regardless of the numbers showing in their blood pressure charts. A tablespoon of salt each day is equivalent to 2,300 milligrams of sodium and is the number considered as ideal for daily intake.
On average, however, adults in the United States (US) can consume on average a staggering 3,400 milligrams daily. That is according to the numbers published by the American Heart Association. As time goes by, the said excess sodium can lead to an increased chance of getting high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other problems with the kidney.
Focusing on a diet that is low in sodium, which is consuming only 1,500 milligrams per day, can be a great boost to heart health. However, experts believe that getting the numbers down from 3,400 mg to 2,300 mg sounds reasonable and much more doable. This, according to health professionals, can already lead to a number of improvements for health.
Some Tips on How To Start a Low Sodium Diet?
Before going on a diet that is low in sodium, individuals are advised to talk to their healthcare professional first as those starting out can start too low. This can cause drastic changes to one’s body and it is important to check with your doctor if there will be some health issues for going too low on sodium intake.
Below are some of the tips for those who want to start with a diet that is low sodium:
When starting out with a low sodium diet, it is best to take it slow
People who start outright or those who choose to do a cold turkey may feel like they are depriving themselves too much and eventually quit the low sodium diet. This is because people can find that the food tastes bland or flavorless (owing to the extremely reduced sodium) and revert to where they started.
To avoid this, it is best to start slow. For example, instead of having canned beans straight from the can, the said canned beans can be rinsed first to remove the excess sodium. Better yet, individuals can go for beans that are frozen. Another possible strategy is to not put any salt on meals you are preparing prior to tasting them. If you do decide to add small quantities of salt, then the taste buds can slow get stimulated, resulting in the individual being able to taste other flavors and improving their sense of taste in general.
When starting out with a low sodium diet, it may be best to avoid foods that are heavy on sodium
Fortunately, a lot of stores and groceries are now offering options that are low in sodium. People who want to go on a diet that is low in sodium should still be careful or wary of some common high sodium foods to avoid.
These foods include fast foods (or food items people can purchase from a drive-thru), noodles, cheese, and boxed macaroni, salad dressings, sports drinks, bread, meats that are processed, condiments such as hot sauce, steak sauce, and ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and pickles.
Be sure to check food labels when starting out with a low sodium diet
Once you decide to go on a low sodium diet, it is paramount that you start checking the food labels of the items you are purchasing. Some food items that claim to be low in sodium may simply be lower in sodium compared to their regular counterparts which can still have high levels of sodium. The other side is also true in that food that you might view as having high sodium content may actually be a good choice. One example is spaghetti sauce which usually contains increased levels of sodium.
However, there are now some brands that no longer have any salt or sodium in them. Better yet, people can try making their own homemade spaghetti sauce and control the amount of sodium to use. This all boils down to how diligent one is when it comes to checking food labels. For meals that are frozen, then it is best for people to check that the sodium is below 700 milligrams per serving. On the other hand, food items such as snacks and chips should only have sodium around 100 to 200 milligrams.
When starting with a low sodium diet, people can try experimenting in their kitchen
There are a number of things people can do to make food items better without adding any extra sodium. These include:
- Creating your unique seasoning- instead of purchasing salt that is packaged, it may be best to just create your homemade version.
- Utilize herbs that are fresh- These can enhance the food’s flavor compared to their dried counterparts, and can even give the individual’s taste buds something new to appreciate and experience.
- Use Lemon- lemons can add acid which can then increase the flavor and can at times, make food seem salty.
- Rinse then repeat- Canned beans can be rinsed the same way as tuna. This can help remove the excess salt from these canned food items and actually help make the food a healthier version of what it once was.