Watch Out for Hidden Sodium


Low Sodium Sticker

 

At the beginning of the year, you promised to start eating healthier and working out regularly. To help you accomplish this monumental goal, you developed a detailed, action plan. Because you’ve heard about the correlation between salt intake and high blood pressure, you vowed to decrease the amount of sodium you add to your food during the cooking process. You also pledged to avoid sprinkling more salt onto your food at the dinner table. If you can relate to this scenario, you’re on the right track.

Read the Labels on Processed Foods

For those who don’t regularly scan the nutrition labels included on your favorite, processed foods, you might be astounded at the amount of sodium in them. Many of these foods are packed with blood pressure elevating sodium despite not tasting salty to you. Also, keep in mind the amount of sodium listed on a product’s nutrition label is only valid for one serving of food. If you normally eat two servings of your favorite cereal each morning, you’re consuming twice the amount of salt indicated on the nutrition label. 

Some of the worst culprits for hidden salt include:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Cheeses
  • Deli meats
  • Sodas
  • Canned foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Condiments
  • Sauces

Whenever you shop for prepackaged foods, search for options labeled “very low sodium” or “sodium free.” 

Add Tantalizing Flavors to Your Food

When decreasing the amount of salt in your diet, your foods might not taste as good as they once did at first. However, give your new lifestyle some time before dumping it. With time, your taste buds will adjust to the change. To infuse your once salty foods with tantalizing flavor, use natural, healthier substitutes such as:

  • Lemon
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Dried mustard
  • Bay leaves
  • Rosemary
  • Basil 

Because approximately 80 percent of the sodium in Americans' diets comes from prepackaged, processed foods, watching out for hidden sodium is crucial. Besides contributing to the development of high blood pressure, excess sodium in your diet is also believed to be harmful to your blood vessels, heart, brain, and kidneys. Monitor your sodium intake, reduce your consumption and before long you might find yourself not missing salt at all.

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