Salt is an essential part of your diet and important to your health because the body can’t produce it. Our bodies need salt to transport nutrients, transmit nerve impulses, and contract muscles, including the heart muscle. Salt is a mineral made up of sodium (40%) and chloride.
However, consuming too much sodium can be detrimental to your health. A diet high in sodium is one factor that may contribute to the development of high blood pressure.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommend a sodium intake of 2300mg or about 1 teaspoon of table salt per day, but most Americans consume more than this.
Below are some helpful tips for avoiding high-sodium foods:
At the grocery store:
- Focus on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Choose low-sodium versions of pickled vegetables, cheeses, canned goods and deli-meats.
- Read labels when grocery shopping and choose the lower-sodium options.
At the restaurant:
- Ask your server about the sodium content of menu items and request your dish be prepared without salt.
- Avoid adding salt at the table.
- Cook rice, pasta and hot cereals without salt.
- Rinse canned foods to remove some of the sodium.
- Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.