Live a life low on salt
Some tips to cut a high-salt diet:
- Know how much sodium you're eating - 2,300 milligrams a day is the upper limit for most people. Those with high blood pressure are urged to eat much less, and 1,500 mg is plenty for good health.
- Read food labels.
Three-fourths of daily sodium intake comes from processed foods, and they are required to list the amount of sodium per serving on the label.
- Comparison shop. The amount of salt added to different foods can vary widely by brand.
- Check for low- or reduced-sodium brands of your favorite foods.
Even chicken broth, a staple for gravy, now comes in low-sodium versions.
- Cook from scratch whenever possible.
Substitute garlic, sage and other herbs, for salt, or try salt-free seasonings like Mrs. Dash. Other flavorings also can substitute for salt, like lemon on fish; roasting vegetables like red peppers to bring out their flavor; low-salt marinades for meat.
- Limit convenience foods like pizza and frozen dinners.
A single slice of some pizzas can account for nearly half your daily sodium allotment.
- Taste isn't always an indicator of salt content.
Some breakfast cereals can have more salt than potato chips. That's because sprinkling salt on the surface of a food makes the flavor go farther than when it is mixed into a more complex food.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Choose no-salt-added canned vegetables. Frozen vegetables seldom contain much salt, unless they're coated with sauces.
- Limit consumption of smoked or salt-cured meats, such as hot dogs, ham, bacon and lunch meats.
- At a restaurant, ask for salad dressing and other sauces on the side, and ask that your food be prepared without salt or monosodium glutamate, MSG.
- Remove the salt shaker.