January 13: A Low Salt Diet-Simple Step to Improve Health

If there is one item to include in your quest for wellness, it is to assume a diet low in sodium. Every day, patients ask for the contents of a low salt diet. They have an idea, but never quite get it right. On questioning, the average adult and their family is consuming well over the recommended amounts that have been put forth by several major medical organizations. The American Heart Association is suggesting between 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day. This is restricted compared to the 4,000 mg/day the average American eats. To get in line with a low salt diet, you must read labels. All commercial food will list the sodium content. My opinion is that it is nearly impossible to maintain a low salt diet if you eat your meals out. The art of home cooked meals is a thing of the past. While I may sound somewhat pessimistic, I interview people for a living, and ask every patient what and where they eat. The answers are not pretty.

Here is a list of sodium in fast foods.

Ill effects of sodium include the following: Too much sodium in the diet can lead to health problems. It is one of the risk factors that contribute towards high blood pressure (hypertension), which substantially increases the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

So what do you do now? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Read all food labels.
  2. Make sure you know how much is in a “serving” of the food you are looking at.
  3. Don’t eat any canned foods.
  4. Don’t eat anything out of a box, or ready to eat meal.
  5. Avoid ALL fast food, as well as chain restaurants.
  6. Learn to use other spices and herbs in your cooking.
  7. Beware of “salt substitutes” – these contain high levels of potassium and can be dangerous with certain health conditions and medications.
  8. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  9. Read all of the other blog entries from this month.

Past “salt” entries from our blog:

Salt: Institute of Medicine

Interview with a Dietitian

Educate Yourself on Salt

Start today on the road to reduced sodium.

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