Lowering the Salt in Your Diet

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According to new studies, Americans consume 3,400 milligrams of salt on average on any given day. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams. Too much salt in your diet can increase your blood pressure which gives you a higher risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Lowering your salt intake does not mean having to suffer, it just means eating smarter.

1- Fast food and prepared foods have high levels of salt. Cutting back on the amount of fast food you consume is one way to lower the salt in your diet. Prepared foods, whether they are take-out from a restaurant or frozen or refrigerated meals that you buy in the supermarket, also contain high amounts of salt.

2- If you just do not have the time to prepare an entire meal at home without using prepared foods, start learning how to read package labels. It will surprise you how much sodium is in some of your favorites. Do not be fooled by low-sodium items. Read the label. A prepackaged rice mix can be very high per serving but if you steam your own rice and add seasonings, you can avoid the high amounts of salt in processed foods.

3- If you have to grab a quick bite while you are away from home, choose wisely. You can always find a healthy salad in many take-out places. Be careful with the salad dressing. Use as little as possible. That is where all the calories come from as well as fat and sodium.

4- Too much salt in your diet can also affect your weight. At home, try re-filling your salt shaker with a salt substitute and gradually stop putting the salt shaker out on the table. Use more spices to flavor your foods. Foods that are steamed retain more of their natural flavor and you will be less tempted to use salt on them. When you are cooking, do not add salt. It might take a heavy salt user a little time to get used to but after a while you will not even miss the salt.

5- For more information on healthier eating according to the American Heart Association guidelines, check out their website for tips and warning signs that everyone needs to be aware of.



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