Low Sodium Diets

If you’re reading this, it probably means you are trying to reduce your daily intake of sodium (salt). Maybe your doctor told you to cut back on sodium, maybe you or your family has a history of heart disease, or maybe you just want to take better care of yourself.. congratulations! Good for you! A heart friendly diet is a fantastic place to start. But what does this mean? What is a Low Sodium Diet?

Let’s start by identifying some important Sodium (salt) facts:

  • The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 2400 milligrams (mg) daily – about 1 teaspoon
  • The average American consumes 7000-8000 mg of sodium per day
  • People who avoid adding salt while cooking or at the dinner table still consume 3000-4000 mg of sodium per day
  • A can of your favorite grocery store chili may contain 2400 mg; homemade chili may contain less than 100 mg
  • 8 ounces of canned tomato soup can have 1,200 milligrams of sodium

Considering that salt is a major ingredient in just about every type of processed food or restaurant meal, it’s no wonder most Americans are getting double, or even triple the amount of sodium they need each day

A High Sodium Diet can lead to congestive heart failure or disease, chronic liver disease, Meniere’s, high blood pressure (hypertension) , and chronic renal failure.

Benefits Of A Low Sodium Diet/Lifestyle?

It has been scientifically proven that a diet low in sodium helps prevent heart disease. Other benefits include weight loss/maintenance, maintaining the correct level of fluids in our bodies (many say the human body is made up of 65% water), assisting with the transmitting nerve impulses, and influencing the contraction, and relaxation of muscles. It also keeps bloating at a minimum which helps avoid the dreaded “water weight.”

Growing up I always thought my Mom made the best chicken soup but little did I know it was the worst! Sure it tasted great, but Mom’s soup was made with chicken broth that had nearly 9,000 mg of sodium (for an entire pot)! It is recommended that an entire pot should have no more than 2,000 mg. Keep in mind, that’s just the broth. It’s very easy to get into serious trouble by adding high-sodium, high-fat ingredients to that broth without even knowing it. Thankfully there are many options out there and now that information is more readily available, it’s easier than ever to make a healthy meal the entire family can enjoy.

What are your options?

The first step is to take control of your diet. There are many quick and easy recipes that are low in sodium and very heart friendly. Avoid adding salt at the dinner table and eliminate (or minimize) fast foods. There are also numerous substitutes available that help make a low sodium diet easier. You can substitute salt with various herbs or spices or even with lemon juice. Adding paprika, wine and vinegar can also be used as a substitute for salt. When grocery shopping, make sure to read the labels before buying. Identify low sodium foods, low sodium meals or create a scrapbook of your favorite low sodium recipes.

Keep yourself informed. It is essential for you to talk to your doctor or dietician on a regular basis. Reading books that give you advise on diets can also help you maintain a low sodium diet. If you don’t feel like buying books or can’t afford to, there are many health websites that offer FREE newsletters with great advice on how to stay on the right path.

The most important thing is to keep your Low Sodium Diet fun! If it isn’t fun, it won’t last. I have been on more diets than I care to mention, none of which lasted because they made me miserable. I’m here to tell you that there are MANY extremely fun, extremely enjoyable low sodium recipes out there. You won’t even notice that they are healthy!

There’s a website I will mention quite often that I LOVE! It’s called Quality Health and it’s one of the best sites out there (besides this one, lol). Registration is quick and free (my favorite), and it gives you access to tons of health advice, free samples of your favorite brand names, and much more… including access to over 2200 Low Sodium Recipes! Click to register for free or go here to see my post on the website Quality Health.