Less Salt Makes Good Sense

Do you consume too much salt?  Using less salt will reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.  Everyone, including children, should eat less salt each day.

Many foods we enjoy contain a lot of added salt.  Prepared and convenience foods are especially high in salt.  Try these tips to help you cut back on the salt you use every day.
  • Choose fresh foods.  Eat less processed foods like pizza, bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats, and canned soups.  We get most of our salt from these foods. Fresh foods are lower in salt.
  • Cook more often.  Use spices, herbs, garlic, lemon juice or vinegars to season foods instead of salt.  Try the Eat Smart Seasoning Mix to add flavor without adding salt.
  • Read food labels.  Spend a little time and read the Nutrition Facts Label and the ingredient list to find the foods with less salt.  Choose foods labeled "low sodium", "reduced sodium" or "no salt added".
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.  Fresh or frozen veggies and fruits are naturally low in salt.  To remove the salt from canned veggies, rinse them under cold water.  Make half your plate fruits and veggies at every meal.
  • Choose dairy and protein foods low in salt.  Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods but be aware of salt content.  While yogurt is low in salt, cheese has more added salt.  Select fresh cuts of meat and seafood.  Use canned meats, sausage and lunch meats every now and then as they contain more salt.  Buy unsalted nuts and seeds for snacks.
  • Trick your taste buds.  Have a taste for salt?  Cut back on salt little by little, your taste for salt will lessen over time.  You will be able to enjoy the natural flavor of foods, and your family's health will be better for it.
  • Make a change.  Following these tips can be helpful to everyone, but especially adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.  Eating less than a teaspoon of salt each day is recommended.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall