by Mitchelle Uzorka
Sodium is an important mineral that performs many essential functions in your body.
It’s found naturally in foods like eggs and vegetables and is also a main component of table salt (sodium chloride).
A low-sodium diet limits high-sodium foods and beverages.
Healthcare professions typically recommend these diets to treat conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
Use these tips to help lower the amount of sodium in your diet. Try making just 1 or 2 changes at a time.
• Shop for lower-sodium foods.
Most of the sodium we eat doesn’t come from our salt shakers. Sodium is in almost all the processed and prepared foods we buy — even foods that don’t taste salty, like bread or tortillas.
When you’re shopping, limit these foods that are high in sodium or look for low-sodium versions:
• Cook more at home.
Making your own meals is a great way to eat less sodium, because you’re in control of what goes into your food.
• Add more potassium to your diet.
Replace high-sodium foods with high-potassium foods. Eating foods with potassium can help lower your blood pressure.
Good sources of potassium include:
Potatoes, Cantaloupe, Bananas, Beans, Milk, Yogurt.
• Train your taste buds.
One study found that people enjoy lower-sodium foods almost as much as food with the common sodium overload. It is possible to shift your sense of taste to enjoy foods made with less sodium.
• You can’t go wrong with veggies.
Fresh and frozen vegetables are naturally low in sodium (usually less than 50 mg per serving) so “load up on these,” says Lise Gloede, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. “Be careful of canned vegetables and high-salt salad dressings,” she warns.
Instead, she recommends dressing up a salad with balsamic vinegar, and maybe adding shelled edamame, a low-sodium soybean. “It’s easy to throw on a salad and very nutritious.”
Low-sodium diets may improve high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and overall diet quality. They may also decrease stomach cancer risk.
Yet, too little sodium may have negative health effects, and this type of diet is unnecessary for most people.
If you follow a low-sodium diet, choose fresh and avoid salty foods.