What you need to know:
- Many recipes call for salt, and many people also salt their food at the table. Condiments also may contain sodium. One tablespoon (15 millilitres) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000mg of sodium.
If you are not sure how much sodium your diet should include, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
What foods have sodium?
Most of the sodium in the typical diet comes from processed or prepared foods. These include bread, pizza, cheese, fast food, and prepared dinners, such as pasta, meat and egg dishes.
Many recipes call for salt, and many people also salt their food at the table. Condiments also may contain sodium. One tablespoon (15 millilitres) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000mg of sodium.
Some foods naturally contain sodium. These include all vegetables and dairy products, meat, and shellfish. While these foods do not have an abundance of sodium, eating them adds to your overall body sodium content. For example, one cup (237 millilitres) of low-fat milk has about 100mg of sodium.
Here are ways you can cut back:
● Eat more fresh foods. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium. Also, fresh meat is lower in sodium than bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham. Buy fresh or frozen poultry or meat that has not been injected with a sodium-containing solution.
● Choose low-sodium products. If you buy processed foods, choose ones that are labeled low sodium. Better yet, buy plain, whole-grain rice and pasta instead of products that have added seasonings.
● Eat at home. Restaurant foods and meals are often high in sodium. Just the starter may be at or above your daily limit.
● You can leave out the salt in many recipes, including soups, stews and other main dishes that you cook. Look for cookbooks that focus on lowering risks of high blood pressure and heart disease.
● Replace salt with herbs, spices and other flavourings. Use fresh or dried herbs, spices, and zest and juice from citrus fruit to jazz up your meals.
● Go easy on the condiments. Soy sauce, salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard and relish all contain sodium.
Use salt substitutes wisely
Salt substitute is made by replacing some or all the sodium with potassium, magnesium or another mineral. To achieve that familiar salty taste, you may use too much of the substitute and get too much sodium.
The potassium in some salt substitutes may be a problem for some people. Too much potassium can be harmful for people with kidney problems or who take medicines that cause potassium retention, such as ones used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.