Did you know that most of us consume too much salt? Although dietary guidelines suggest limiting daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (equivalent to about 1 teaspoon), most of us far exceed that amount. According to the American Heart Association, as little as 2,300 milligrams of sodium is considered too much. They recommend most adults stick to a daily limit of 1,500 milligrams for better cardiovascular health.
Be sure to take this list with you the next time you go to the supermarket.
Sodium is a mineral necessary for the proper functioning of the body, but it is important to consume it in moderate amounts. Too much sodium can have negative health consequences, including high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart problems and stroke.
It can also increase the risk of kidney disease. As we age, it’s important to watch our sodium intake, as blood pressure tends to rise with age. Maintaining adequate sodium intake can help maintain good blood pressure control and promote overall health.
The sodium in our diet comes from several sources, one of the most important being the food we eat outside of the home, such as in restaurants. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 25% of our total sodium intake comes from these farms. About 10% of sodium intake comes from homemade and home-prepared foods, while a substantial 65% comes from store-bought foods. However, there is an opportunity to look for lower sodium options when shopping.
It’s important to note that there are certain foods high in sodium that can affect heart health. The American Heart Association has identified certain popular foods known as the “Salty Six” that add increased sodium to the standard American diet.
Some foods that are known to be high in sodium are bread, rolls, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts, soups, and burritos and tacos.
When it comes to controlling your salt intake, choosing low-sodium foods is an excellent option. These foods are defined as those containing 140mg or less of sodium per serving. Even choosing products labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added” can make a difference in your daily salt intake. It’s important to note that there are some foods that are naturally low in sodium and adding them to your diet can be very beneficial.
1. Dried Peas and Beans
Beans, peas, and lentils are healthy plant-based options that offer significant heart health benefits. These foods are high in protein and fiber, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. In addition, they are characterized by a low fat content and naturally contain no cholesterol.
Cooking dried legumes is an excellent choice due to their low sodium content. When it comes to canned beans and legumes, it’s important to note that these can be a convenient option. However, one must be careful as they often contain an excess of salt.
To reduce sodium intake, it’s a good idea to opt for varieties labeled “low sodium,” such as B. GH Seal Star Goya Beans Low Sodium. This allows you to enjoy the nutritional benefits without worrying about excess salt. If you want to reduce the sodium content in the beans, you can rinse or drain them. This will help remove some of the salt they contain and make them healthier to eat.
2. Fruit, almost no sodium and many benefits
It’s important to note that most fruits are low in sodium, and some are even considered sodium-free. These fruits include apples, apricots, bananas, grapefruit, oranges and most berries. As such, incorporating these options into our diets can be beneficial for those looking to reduce their sodium intake.
Fruits are excellent food choices because not only are they naturally low in sodium, but they also offer many health benefits. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can help maintain a healthy heart.
Fruits are a great way to add sweetness and natural flavor to your dishes without resorting to excessive salt or sugar. Not only are they delicious, they are a healthier and more nutritious alternative to your meals.
This fermented milk product not only supports a healthy gut, but has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Research supports these cardiovascular health benefits.
Plain yogurt is a great, naturally low-sodium option. However, it’s important to note that varieties with added flavors sometimes contain added sugar and salt. Therefore, it is always advisable to check the nutritional information before purchasing flavored yogurt.
Opt for plain yogurt whenever possible and sweeten it in a healthy way by adding fresh fruit. Greek yogurt is known for being high in protein, making it a great choice for anyone looking to increase their protein intake.
4. Nuts and seeds without salt
Walnuts are a delicious source of plant-based protein and provide a satisfying crunch with every bite. Recent studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts in their diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If possible, choose raw, unsalted nuts. If you’re having a hard time giving up salted nuts, you can try making your own half-salted, half-unsalted mix. This way you can reduce sodium consumption while enjoying a delicious taste.
Walnuts are a highly nutritious type of dried fruit that can be beneficial to health. They contain omega-3 fatty acids known to promote cardiovascular health. Therefore, adding nuts to your trail mix recipe can be a valuable option for maintaining a healthy heart.
5. Low sodium vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of essential nutrients that have health benefits such as: B. lowering cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Some vegetables like asparagus, green beans, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, and squash are naturally low in sodium.
Research has shown that eating more vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables like spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, can have numerous cardiovascular health benefits. These foods are packed with essential nutrients that help keep your heart healthy and strong. Incorporating more vegetables into our daily diet can be a powerful strategy for promoting long-term heart health.
When cooking vegetables, it is important to pay attention to the preparation. To maintain its nutritional properties, it is recommended to use steaming, air frying or grilling instead of frying. To ensure a balanced and healthy diet, it is also advisable to moderate the use of the salt shaker.
6. Ancient grains, a sodium-free staple
The list of nutrient-rich ancient grains is endless. These include farro, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, kamut, freekeh, barley, bulgur, and quinoa.
Ancient grains, considered a staple food in many regions of the world, are becoming increasingly popular in western countries. This trend is due to the fact that these grains tend to be less processed than other, more common varieties.
If you’re looking to reduce your sodium intake, ancient grains are excellent choices, as most contain little or no minerals. However, it is important to consider how you prepare them. I would recommend boiling them with plain water or a low-sodium broth to achieve the goal of a low-sodium diet.
7. Herbs and Spices
A variety of quality herbs and spices can make a world of difference in the kitchen. Not only do they add flavor to your dishes, but they also allow you to significantly reduce the amount of sugar and sodium you add to your recipes.
Using herbs and spices in cooking is a natural way to add delicious flavor and depth to dishes. We encourage you to experiment with fresh herbs that you may not have tried before, such as: B. to cook with sage or add mint to a salad for a lively and refreshing taste.
To add variety to your meals, we recommend exploring your spice collection and planning a meal with a spice you wouldn’t normally use, like turmeric or cumin. It’s important to note that pre-made marinades and condiments often contain large amounts of sodium. So it’s a good idea to prepare these yourself whenever possible.
Approved by GH nutritionists, DASH spices are a great addition to your heart-healthy pantry. These innovative blends and marinades are salt-free, making them the ideal choice for anyone looking to reduce their sodium intake. Adding these spices to your meals is a tasty and healthy way to enhance flavor without sacrificing cardiovascular health.
With information from goodhousekeeping.com