Reducing the salt or sodium content in your diet might reduce the risk of several ailments such as hypertension, stroke and heart diseases.
A low sodium diet is one that contains not more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the exact amount might vary according to the health condition of a person. People suffering from high blood pressure or heart problems should consume not more than 2000 mg of sodium each day.
People who perspire excessively on hot summer days or people engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activities could consume up to 3000 mg of sodium daily.
One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. The human body usually requires at least a quarter teaspoon of salt or about 69mg of sodium per day.
Unfortunately, we consume larger amounts of sodium, higher than the maximum permissible limit, each day. According to researchers, the average American diet contains at least five teaspoons of salt a day.
Besides salt, sodium is even present in a large number of food substances that might not taste salty. Celery and beet are rich sources of sodium. It is also found in dairy products such as processed as well as regular cheese, cottage cheese and buttermilk.
You can find large quantities of sodium in bread, biscuits, pizzas, salted crackers and mixes of pancake and waffles. Pickled vegetables are rich in salt.
Prepackaged tomato sauces, soups and pasta are rich sources of sodium. Canned vegetable juices, salted nuts and processed, smoked, canned and cured meat, poultry and fish products could increase the sodium content in the diet.
It is advisable to limit or avoid foods rich in sodium. You can replace sodium rich foods with suitable low sodium alternatives. Before buying packaged food products, read the ingredient label to determine the sodium level in the food item. Besides salt, food items that contain monosodium glutamate, brine or baking powder are sources of sodium.
People on low sodium diet could enhance the salty flavor of their food with sodium substitutes. However, salt substitutes containing potassium chloride are unsafe for people with kidney problems. To improve the flavor of the food without adding extra salt, you can season your dishes with culinary herbs and spices.