Have you tried to eat food that is salt free or has inadequate amounts of salt? Salt less food almost tastes insipid and our taste buds cannot relish food which tastes different from what it is normally accustomed to. One eats to live, therefore if salt laden food is a cause of ill-health, isn’t it wise to reduce salt in the food so that we remain healthy? Research has time and again proved that even a moderate reduction in salt can lower incidences of heart attack and stroke in a big way.
Lowering salt intake may seem more difficult as most of the food products we find on the shelves seem to have unhealthy levels of salt in them. The chips and fries that we drool over are unhealthy as they contain an increased amount of salt. According to Dietary Guidelines, we should restrict sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. For those over 50, it should ideally be 1,500 milligrams per day, especially if we are victims of diabetes, hypertension or chronic kidney disease.
Lowering salt intake in the food can be done in three ways. First, is to make sure that we buy food stuff which has reduced salt. Next, is to ensure use of reduced amount of salt while cooking or none at all. The third strategy is to be watchful of what one eats while eating out and to specifically avoid food high in salt content.
Reducing Salt Intake Can Take Place At The Most Significant Time When You Are Shopping For Food.
- One of the ways to know exactly what you are buying is to read the nutrition labels on food packaging and make a comparative study. Most of what we eat right from sauces to pizzas and pastas contain salt, so buying food which has reduced salt content may be the most significant step to take in our drive to reduce salt intake. Here are a few guidelines to follow while shopping for food products.
- If you are shopping for crisps or crackers go for the ones with reduced salt. Avoid pickles, soy sauce and mustard sauce, which contain excessive salt.
- It is good to buy tinned vegetables and pulses without salt.
- Take special care while buying packaged foods as some of them contain abnormal levels of sodium. It is important to buy products that have reduced sodium content or are completely sodium free.
- Avoid buying cured meats and fish as they have high salt content
- Read the nutrition labels on ready-made pasta sauces and buy the ones with a reduced salt content.
- Canned and tinned foods contain excessive amounts of salt. Buy canned items which have reduced salt.
Make A Healthy Choice While Eating Out
- When you are eating at a restaurant, there are a few things you can do to ensure the food you eat is low on salt. This is possible if you care to ask and check the contents of what you order and make an intelligent and healthy choice of low-salt foods. For instance, if you choose to have pasta at a restaurant, making a choice of vegetable topping or a meat topping can help lower salt intake rather than extra cheese or pepperoni. If it’s a burger that you are ordering, a salad topping will be a healthier option rather than cheese or bacon.
- It pays to ask and be informed while ordering food at a restaurant. Always check with the manager or steward about foods that are made without added salt. In this respect fresh steamed veggies and roasted vegetables are the healthiest choice.
- For lunch , if you choose rice , then plain rice is low on salt as compared to fried rice . If you are one for salads, remember salad dressing can be high on salt and fat. You could either avoid them completely or take it as a separate helping so that you can consume only as much as you want.
Reduce Salt While Cooking
Another good way to reduce salt intake is to avoid adding salt to food when cooking.
- There are some alternatives which might add some flavour to food without salt. Black pepper doubles up as a good seasoning and increases the taste when used on pizzas, egg, soups and fish. Fresh herbs, ginger, chilly, garlic and lime also add to the taste, and one may not really miss the absence of salt in the dishes.
- If you are eating canned foods, make sure these foods are rinsed to wash off some of the salt.
- Sauces made with garlic and tomatoes taste good, even without salt. This sauce can be a good alternative instead of other sauces high on salt content
Use these tips to reduce salt in your day-to-day life and prevent health problems that can occur due to over-consumption of salt and salty foods.