Salt is a common flavoring added to lots of foods and many people add salt to their meals as well. While salt does indeed enhance the taste of food, it may also be unhealthy. A high salt or, more specifically, a high sodium chloride diet – the chemical name for dietary salt – could increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and strokes.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that most adults should limit their salt consumption to 2,400mg or less per day. If you already have high blood pressure or any of the other medical conditions attributed to salt, that figure reduces to 1,400mg per day.
Nine out of ten Americans consume more salt than is good for them and, with that in mind, you may want to look at some easy ways to cut salt from your diet. Reducing salt intake does not mean you won’t suffer from high blood pressure, stokes, kidney disease or heart disease but it may significantly reduce your chances.
Remove the salt shaker from the table
Many people add salt out of habit; the first thing they do when their meal arrives is cover it in salt! To avoid this habit, simply keep your salt shaker out of reach. Use a non-sodium flavor enhancer instead such as pepper or mixed dried herbs.
Cut back on pre-prepared meals
Most processed, pre-prepared meals such as TV dinners contain a lot of salt. Cook more of your own food and eat fewer ready meals to cut down on salt.
Eat fewer savory snacks
Potato chips, slated popcorn, pretzels, dry-roasted nuts, pickles, and other savory snacks contain a lot of salt. This is why many bars often provide them for free. The high salt content makes you thirsty and buy more beer! Instead, seek out no-added salt alternatives like dried fruit or raw nuts with no salt added.
Avoid bacon and other cured meats
Curing is a method of preserving food that often uses a lot of salt. Bacon and canned meats are especially high in salt. Look for low-salt bacon and otherwise go easy on the cured meats and cold cuts.
Seek out low salt sauces and condiments
Soy sauce, tomato ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce – many sauces and condiments are very high in salt. There are, however, low and reduced salt alternatives of these foods widely available so seek them out and use them in preference.
Switch to unsalted butter
Although not a big source of salt, switching from salted to unsalted butter is an easy way to reduce your sodium intake without making a big change to the food you like to eat.
Forgo fast food
A typical takeout burger contains as much as 2,500mg of salt – and that’s without the heavily salted fries and ketchup! Skip the takeout burgers and grill your own instead to reduce your salt intake. Hold the fries too!
Use less salt when cooking
Rather than just toss salt into your recipes willy-nilly, take a moment to measure the amount of salt you are adding. Use a measuring spoon to see just how much salt you are thinking of adding to your food and then cut it by half!
Avoid effervescent vitamins and dissolvable painkillers
Effervescent vitamins and dissolvable painkillers can contain as much as 1000mg of salt per dose so if you are taking several doses per day, that’s a whole lot of salt you could otherwise avoid. Take your vitamins and painkillers in tablet-form to cut down on salt without altering your diet.
LoSalt is a reduced sodium salt alternative that contains 66% less sodium than regular table salt. Most people who try it say it tastes just like salt and it can be used for cooking and also sprinkling on your food. It contains potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride.
Reducing your salt intake could be very good for your health but also can be hard to do. Many of us really like the taste! Because if this, you should not go “cold turkey” on salt but, instead, reduce your intake gradually over several weeks. That way, you are less likely to miss it and are more likely to become a lift-long salt abstainer.