Sodium. It is something that our bodies need to work. However, we usually get more sodium than we need. Just exactly what is sodium? It is a mineral that helps control the amount of fluid in our body and the beating of our heart. Not getting enough sodium is usually not a problem as sodium is found in lots of foods we eat. Sodium naturally occurs in some foods and is added to food for flavor and to make our food stay fresh longer. What is the most common source of sodium? The table salt added to our food.
How much sodium do we need? Most people should eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. That is one teaspoon of salt. Many foods today are high in sodium. Processed, cured, pickled, or smoked foods and known as convenience foods are high in sodium and take little preparation time. Reducing sodium, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and limiting alcohol and tobacco use, may reduce your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
How can I reduce my sodium use? Follow some of the following tips:
1. Limit the use of table salt by not adding salt to food or water while you are cooking.
2. Taste a food before you add the salt.
3. Cut down on the number of shakes you give the salt shaker.
4. Add white rice to your salt shaker to slow the flow of the salt.
5. Remove the salt shaker from the table.
6. Look for the words “no salt added”, “reduced salt”, or “low or reduced sodium” on the food package label.
7. Read the Nutrition Facts panel found on the food package label. Check the % Daily Value per serving for sodium. Try to select foods that provide 5% or less of sodium per serving.
8. Use fresh meats rather than cured or processed foods.
9. Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blend to flavor foods.
10. Cut back on instant flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which have salt added.
11. Use less of condiments such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, tartar sauce, etc.
12. Rinse canned foods that are high in sodium with water such as green beans.
Source: Nebraska Extension