11 Tips for Reducing Your Sodium Intake
Salt. Cheap, plentiful, and pretty much makes everything taste good. Or have we just become accustomed to the flavor of more salt?
Recommended Daily Salt or Sodium Intake
1500-2400 milligrams or almost one teaspoon or less
In a way that we can all relate to – One teaspoon of salt contains 2300 milligrams of sodium. One teaspoon a day… Which is at the high end of the recommended allotment. Seven out of 10 American consume 2.3 times the recommended amount. And the average American doesn’t fare much better… consuming 1.5 teaspoons at day. It might not seem like much… but the risk associated with high sodium intake to important to overlook!
Health Risks Associated with High Sodium Intake Include:
- Heart Disease
- Abnormal Heart Development
- Kidney Disorders
- Dehydration and Swelling
Tips to Reduce our Salt Intake
- Reduce your intake of processed foods; 75% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods. So reducing the processed foods we consume is a great start. Buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats or fish – to avoid salt added during processing. When buying frozen foods – use care as salt may be added.
- When cooking, don’t add salt at the beginning – wait until right before you are ready to serve to add the season. Adding it early on the salt will disperse through the layers of the food vs at the end it will be right on the surface where your taste buds will immediately pick up the flavor.
- Watch out out for your Dressings & Condiments! A 1.5 oz serving of Newman’s Own Low Fat Italian Dressing contains almost a third of the maximum daily amount we should be consuming at 730 calories! A 2 oz serving of Ranch dressing weighs in at 530 mg.
- When it’s an option; buy low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of your favorite foods.
- Rinse canned foods to wash away some of the sodium added to canned food (like beans & canned fish) during processing.
- Keep an eye open for hidden sodium in foods like; baking soda, baking powder, and MSG.
- When cooking use low sodium broths, bouillion or soup.
- Don’t add salt to the water when cooking pasta, rice and cereals.
- On food labels look out for sodium in ingredients such as disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium benzoate, and so on.
- When snacking choose nuts & seeds that are unsalted (and raw – for an unrelated reason!). And of course limit salty potato chips & pretzels.
- Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
I know preparing this post has reminded me of a few areas that I can improve on to reduce my families sodium intake! I hope it does the same for you!
Love letter to the FDA – This blog post was written as part of the Mrs. Dash and TwitterMoms blogging program. I was compensated for the time I took to research, test and create recipes, and to write the posts. My opinions are my own and aren’t for sale.
What steps do you take to Reduce Sodium Intake in Your Diet?
The Twinkie Report is PND’s investagation into the most important additives and preservatives to avoid in your diet.
We’ll also offer suggestions for ways to avoid them.
Hot Dogs, Bologna, Turkey Breast, Ham, Salami. Unless you are a champion label reader you are likely bring home a cartload of nitrates with these foods (and others like it) from the supermarket.
Sodium Nitrite is used to preserve, color, and flavor meat products. It is commonly added to cured meats like; bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. It helps to prevents growth of bacteria.
So what possible dangers does this preservative present? The list is quite extensive, some links are more conclusively proven than others… a number of cancer’s top the list:
- Colorectal Cancer – 50 % higher risk for lower colon cancer – American Medical Association.
- Stomach Cancer: 38 % increase in stomach cancer for people who ate an increase of 30 grams of processed meat
- Pancreatic Cancer: 68 % increase risk in pancreatic cancer for groups who consumed high quantities of processed meats – National Cancer Institute
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- DNA Mutations
- Increased risk of colon cancer
- Increased risk of Brain Tumors in Children
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF SODIUM NITRATE
In addition to exposure from cured meats (and such) we are also exposed eating nitrates from leafy & root vegetables. But don’t think that means you should avoid these vegetables, the belief is the compounds in natural nitrates actually inhibit the development of disease, rather than cause it.
Nitrites are found some drinking water due to fertilizers, manure, animal feedlots and other environmental pollution sources. I know our water filter lists nitrates as one of the elements it removes from the water, it may be worth confirming that yours does the same.
THE GOOD NEWS
I don’t know about you, but my kids love sausage and hot dogs. I don’t want to deprive them completely and most veggie dogs don’t quite measure up.
The food industry has responded. If you read labels carefully you can find cured meats that are free of Sodium Nitrates and other things you want to avoid too. My rule of thumbs is not to buy it if I can’t pronounce it.
Items we’ve found that taste great and are Nitrate Free and free of most other nastiness:
- Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage – We like the Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese.
- Trader Joe’s Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa (This one has a tough casing, I freeze it and peel the casing while the meat is frozen). Very lean and with an ingredient list of Turkey, Water, Sea Salt, Spices, Paprika, Dehydrated Garlic and Beef Collagen Casing – worth the trouble.
- Trader Joe’s Uncure Turkey Bacon
- Trader Joe’s – Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Farms Certified Organic Sunday Bacon
This list is by no means complete, it’s a sampling of what was in the diva home at the time I wrote this post.
As a rule these meats are still going to have a higher sodium content. We don’t typically use them as a main course, rather as a side to a meal or a flavor enhancer.
Don’t forget to consider the meat that was used to make the product. Is it organic, raised without hormones, antibiotics, vegetarian fed, etc.
Some sources used for this article include:
PND recently found an article on MSN Health and Fitness 12 Preservative to Avoid, it seemed worth sharing. The article briefly lists MSN Healths picks for the top 12 additives and preservatives to avoid and briefly explains why. This list has inspired PND to create a new series.
We’re calling it ~ The Twinkie Report.
The 12 preservatives to avoid:
Sodium Nitrate Propyl Gallateu usually used in conjunction with BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydrozyttoluene) Propyl gallate MSG – Monosodium glutamate – AKA Natural Flavorings Trans fats Aspartame Acesulfame-K – Another Sweetener Food colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; and Yellow 6 Olestra Potassium bromate White sugar Sodium chloride
In future installments PND plans on going through each preservative on the list to learn even more about why we should be avoiding them.
Some questions we’ll ask:
- What is it?
- Why Should we avoid it?
- Where is it used/Which Foods?
- What can we do/use instead?
We’re not sure exactly why we’re picking on the Twinkie – except when thinking about the ultimate in non food, preservative laden food ~ The Twinkie comes to mind first! Then we found this picture, which keeps making us laugh.
On side note I don’t think we’ll be doing any hostess giveaways in the near future. Apologies to our readers.
What exactly is in the Twinkie – not much that can be considered real food from our research.
Digging a little deeper the top twinkie ingredients are:
- Enriched Wheat Flour – enriched with ferrous sulphate (iron), B vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate [B1],ribofavin [B12] and folic acid).
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, and beef fat.
- Whole eggs
According to Steve Ettlinger’s book, Twinkie Deconstructed, five ingredients come from rocks and other ingredients like cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate… These ingredients are also used in sheet rock, shampoo, and rocket fuel.
We’re looking forward to learning more and sharing with you over the coming weeks.
First up: Sodium Nitrate.