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January 15, 2016 | Nutrition Articles

Another name for salt is sodium and too much sodium in your food is not good for your health.

THE GOOD

  • Sodium maintains the fluid balance in our body.
  • Sodium helps control blood pressure.
  • For most people, less than 2300 mg of sodium should be consumed per day.
  • However, most adults eat more than this.

THE BAD

  • Too much sodium can increase blood pressure which is bad for your heart and your kidneys.
  • For people with chronic kidney disease, too much sodium can cause swelling, a rise in blood pressure, shortness of breath and fluid around the heart and lungs.

MYTH

Surprisingly, table salt added to home-cooked meals is NOT the biggest source of sodium in the diet.

So where does it come from?

The majority of the sodium we eat comes from processed food and restaurant meals. Eating home-cooked meals more often helps keep sodium intake low.

Examples of high sodium foods:

  • Processed/convenience foods, instant products (Kraft Dinner®, pickles, canned and packaged soup)
  • Processed cheese such as Cheese whiz®, individual cheese slices
  • Ready to eat frozen foods (hot dogs, chicken fingers, bacon, pizza)
  • Fast foods/restaurant foods

What can you do?

Read the Nutrition facts label

Read the serving size when comparing products so you can tell which one actually has less sodium.

Aim for less than 10% daily value or less than 200 mg per serving for sodium.

Use Less

  • Seasoning salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables

Try

  • Fresh onion, Garlic powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Low sodium/salt-free seasoning blends
  • Homemade/low-sodium sauces & dressings
  • Fresh beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs
  • Homemade or low-sodium soups
  • Canned food without added salt

More Tips

  • Eat home-cooked meals.
  • Use salt-free herbs and spices, such as pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to flavour food instead of garlic salt, celery salt, sauces and prepackaged seasoning.
  • Limit intake of processed foods. If you do buy processed foods, compare labels and choose foods with less sodium.
  • Limit salt while cooking and taste food before adding salt at the table.
  • Choose ‘no salt added’ or low-sodium versions of frozen and canned vegetables. Rinse and drain canned vegetables.
  • Limit restaurant meals. If you do go to restaurants, check the nutrition information online. Look before you go and find the lower sodium option. Ask that salt not be added to your meal.
  • Reduce your portion size at restaurants to reduce the sodium. Take half home or split an entrée with a friend.

(Printable Dietitian Handout or Salt Booklet for public education)

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