Wellness Wednesday: Reducing Sodium Intake to Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
This week’s wellness tip is cutting back on one’s salt intake. A low sodium diet helps lower your blood pressure, which can decrease your chances of a stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Salt can be disguised in many different forms, sneaking its way into our diet where we least expect it. Some “basic” foods like meat, fruits, vegetables, seasonings, and bread can have salt stashed inside. It is important to read the labels to see where sodium may be lurking in your foods. Below are some simple tips to lowering your salt intake:
As humans, we like convenience. It is easier to grab the pre-packaged beef, chicken, bison, etc. than walking up to the meat counter. If you are watching your sodium intake, check the labels on pre-packaged meats and consider going to the meat counter. Pre-packaged meat has an average of 8 to 11 times more sodium than fresh meat by comparison.
Fruits and vegetables may seem like they are safe, but be cautious of the sodium content in canned goods. Buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Canned foods have higher amounts of sodium to give more flavor. Stick with the fresh or frozen produce for a more nutrient dense food.
When looking at any seasonings, consider getting the powdered version rather than salt. For example, garlic powder is 100% dehydrated whole garlic cloves; garlic salt, on the other hand, is made from a combination of one tablespoon of salt per teaspoon of garlic powder. Making the switch from garlic salt to garlic powder can decrease your sodium intake by over 1,280%!
Bread tops the list of salt containing foods in the United States per the Center for Disease Control. Swapping white grains for whole grains in breads and cereals can decrease your sodium intake while increasing your intake of vitamins, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals. A study performed by Harvard University showed eating whole grains lowers total cholesterol, bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels which drops the risk of cardiovascular disease by 21-30%.
Eat the foods you love, while lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. A few basic switches can lead you to a healthier life. It is important to take care of your heart and avoid any serious health problems that could occur later down the road. For more ways to reduce sodium in your diet, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/salt/reduce_sodium_tips.htm