4 Food-Hacks for Reducing Sodium and Your Risk for Heart Disease
Too much sodium in your diet can lead to a variety of health issues – including heart disease. Many people incorrectly assume that if you don’t add salt to your food, that means your sodium intake will be low. However, packaged and restaurant foods with salt already added make up more than 70% of the sodium in our diet. In honor of American Heart Month, lower the amount of sodium in your diet – and reduce your risk for heart disease – with these four simple food-hacks:
Be Wary of Restaurant Meals
If you’re heading out for dinner, take a look at the menu before you get to the restaurant. If available, check the nutritional facts to see which items have a large amount of sodium ahead of time. You can also request that your order to be prepared without salt if you’re eyeing a dish that has high sodium content.
Avoid Packaged Foods at Home
When cooking meals at home, skip out on packaged foods – including meats. These often hide a lot of sodium that people don’t expect. Yes, things like beef, pork, and chicken will contain natural sodium, but this is much less than what’s added to processed meats like ham and bacon. The same goes for fruits and vegetables – choose fresh produce over frozen and avoid anything that comes pre-seasoned or sauced.
Double Check Food Labels
Check the labels on grocery items before purchasing them, to make sure you’re educated on all the nutritional facts, including the sodium levels. If one brand has a particularly high amount of sodium, compare it to others and go with the one that has the lowest amount. Some products even offer “heart healthy” badges to help make healthier choices easily recognizable.
Watch-out for Salt in Your Spices
A lot of spices have high sodium content even if they aren’t specifically labeled as a salt product. Luckily, there are some simple swaps you can make that will make meals healthier without losing the flavor. Instead of onion or garlic salt, choose onion or garlic powder. For spices that include a mix of flavors, look for labels that indicate they’re sodium-free.
What are some of your favorite low-sodium meals or ingredient swaps? Share them with us in the comments.