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Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet

A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Most Americans consume more salt than they need. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets of 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure lowering benefits. These lower-sodium diets also can keep blood pressure from rising and help blood pressure medicines work better.

Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet
Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned "with no salt added" vegetables.
Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
Choose "convenience" foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings — these often have a lot of sodium.
Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium.
When available, buy low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods.
Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.

Tips on Being a Smart Shopper
Read the food label to find out more about what is in the foods you eat
Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned "with no salt added" vegetables
Choose foods that say:

sodium free
very low sodium
low sodium
reduced (or less) sodium
light in sodium

Tips on How to Prepare Lower Salt Meals
Add less salt at the table and in cooking. Reduce the amount a little each day until none is used. Try spices and herbs instead
Cook with low-salt ingredients. Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. Rice, pasta, and hot cereals can be cooked with little or no salt
Use fewer sauces, mixes, and "instant" products this includes flavored rices, pasta, and cereal, which usually have salt added
Rinse salt from canned foods
Limit smoked, cured, or processed beef, pork, or poultry

Read the Food Label

Food labels can help you choose foods lower in sodium, as well as calories, saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The label tells you:

Number Of Servings
The serving size is cup. The package contains about 3 servings.

Amount Per Serving
Nutrient amounts are given for one serving. If you eat more or less than a serving, add or subtract amounts. For example, if you eat 1 cup of peas, you need to double the nutrient amounts on the label.

Percent Daily Value
Percent Daily Value helps you compare products and tells you if the food is high or low in sodium. Choose products with the lowest Percent Daily Value for sodium.

You'll find the milligrams of sodium in one serving.

What to Look For On Food Labels

Compare Labels

Which of these two items is lower in sodium? To tell, check the Percent Daily Value. The answer is given below.

Frozen Peas

Serving Size cup
Servings Per Container about 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 125 mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Sugars 5g
Protein 5g

Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 30%
Calcium 0% Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are
based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Canned Peas

Serving Size cup
Servings Per Container about 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 380 mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 14%
Sugars 4g
Protein 4g

Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 2% Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are
based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

ANSWER: The frozen peas. The canned peas have three times more sodium than the frozen peas.a

Quick Facts on Salt
Most sodium is consumed in the form of sodium chloride which is table salt. Other forms of sodium are also found in food, so watch out for salt AND sodium.
Try to have less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day — that's the same as 6 grams of salt a day, or about 1 teaspoon
That includes ALL sodium and salt — what's in the product, and added in cooking and at the table
Processed foods account for most of the sodium and salt consumed
Check food labels — sodium is in some foods you might not expect, such as soy sauce and some antacids
Kosher salt and sea salt are just that — salt. Don't forget to include them in adding up your sodium intake for the day
Reducing salt in the diet can lower blood pressure

Flavor That Food

Make foods tasty without using salt. Try these flavorings, spices, and herbs:

For Meat, Poultry, and Fish —
Beef Bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
Lamb Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint
Pork Garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano
Veal Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram, oregano
Chicken Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Fish Curry powder, dill, dry mustard, lemon juice, marjoram, paprika, pepper

For Vegetables —
Carrots Cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Corn Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley
Green Beans Dill, curry powder, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
Greens Onion, Pepper
Peas Ginger, marjoram, onion, parsley, sage
Potatoes Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage
Summer Squash Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Winter Squash Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onion
Tomatoes Basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper.


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