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  • Writer's picturePeggi Ingram


American's eat an average of 3400 mg of sodium a day. This is alot! Sodium is a very important for bodily function but too much can be detrimental to the your health. The Dietary guidelines recommend less than 2300 mg a day and I say even lower to 1500 mg a day.

Salt has been added to processed foods as a preservative but also to enhance the taste of foods especially if it is low fat. The main source of sodium comes from:

  • Processed and prepared foods. The vast majority of sodium in the typical American diet comes from foods that are processed and prepared. These foods are typically high in salt and additives that contain sodium. Processed foods include bread, pizza, cold cuts and bacon, cheese, soups, fast foods, and prepared dinners, such as pasta, meat and egg dishes.

  • Natural sources. Some foods naturally contain sodium. These include all vegetables and dairy products, meat, and shellfish. While they don't have an abundance of sodium, eating these foods does add to your overall body sodium content. For example, 1 cup (237 milliliters) of low-fat milk has about 100 mg of sodium.

  • In the kitchen and at the table. Many recipes call for salt, and many people also salt their food at the table. Condiments also may contain sodium. One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000 mg of sodium.

  • Meats: Many meats such as chicken breast are injected with sodium or broth to enhance flavors.

Reducing sodium intake assists with lowering blood pressure, heart disease, risk of stroke, kidney stones, kidney disease, obesity, etc. It also reduces fluid retention and joint pain.

Tips for decreasing sodium intake:

  • While I don't look at nutritional labels much - I do always look at how much sodium is per serving. I do my best to stay at less than 200mg/serving.

  • Remove salt from recipes when feasible or choose low sodium substitutes and add salt at the table. This can limit the amount of sodium since most people salt their foods in addition to the salt in the recipe.

  • Limit processed foods, lunch meats, sausages, and pork which usually has alot of added sodium as well as soy and teriyaki sauces.

  • Eat more fresh foods.

  • Pay attention to those chicken breasts for injected sodium.

This may take a bit to get used to the lower sodium tastes but do it gradually. Pay attention to how much more flavor is in foods when it is not doused in salt!

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