A Low Sodium (or Low Salt) Diet aims to reduce the daily intake of sodium or salt. The daily recommended intake of sodium is 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams) per day. Most people in Western countries eat far more than this. This amount of sodium is equal to a teaspoon of table salt per day.
The DASH diet is a popular implementation of a low-sodium diet.
Many studies have found that a reduction of sodium can lead to a lower blood pressure. In fact, a level of 1,500 mg has been found to have the best affect on this with high blood pressure (or hypertension).
Many foods contain ‘hidden’ quantities of sodium, so it pays to read the food label. It is a government requirement to list sodium quantities.
Tips for Reducing Sodium
- Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned “with no salt added” vegetables.
- Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
- Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
- Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
- Choose “convenience” foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings — these often have a lot of sodium.
- Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium.
- When available, buy low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods.
- Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.
Preparing Low Sodium Food
- Add less salt at the table and in cooking. Reduce the amount a little each day until none is used. Try spices and herbs instead.
- Cook with low-salt ingredients. Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. Rice, pasta, and hot cereals can be cooked with little or no salt.
- Use fewer sauces, mixes, and “instant” products this includes flavored rices, pasta, and cereal, which usually have salt added.
- Rinse salt from canned foods.
- Limit smoked, cured, or processed beef, pork, or poultry.