Sodium is needed to help regulate water in the body. However, too much of it can be harmful. It can cause bloating and lead to cardiovascular issues. With many U.S. citizens at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, it’s important to spread awareness on how to reduce dietary sodium.

The main culprits of sodium in our diets are pre-packaged foods and restaurant meals. Swapping them out for homemade foods is a good way to reduce the salt, but there are also other ways to combat the excess sodium in these foods.

• Look carefully at nutritional labels for packaged foods. Different brands can have different sodium levels. Go for the brands with the least amount of sodium.

• When buying canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse them off before use. This can cut 40% of the sodium.

• When buying chicken, check the packaging for words like broth, saline, or sodium solution. Avoid chicken packaged this way.

• When going to restaurants, avoid adding any salt yourself. Most meals already have way more salt than needed. In fact, depending on the restaurant and the meal, it may already have more than a day’s worth of sodium.

• Control portion sizes. If you do order a high-sodium meal, try to take some home with you so you aren’t eating all that sodium in one sitting.

Maintaining a healthy level of sodium intake is important for overall health and wellbeing.

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