Sodium Reduction

11 Jan

I know that thereimages[2] are several good reasons to reduce the amount of sodium I consume, including protection from high blood pressure, reducing headaches and occasional dizziness, and avoiding the bloated feeling that comes from fluid retention. Still, when I learned that the recommended maximum consumption per day per person is 2,300 milligrams, and then found out that the average daily intake per person of sodium in the U.S. is nearly 5,000 milligrams per day, I was amazed!

Where does all this sodium come from? It turns out it’s not all from the salt shaker at the dinner table.  About a quarter of the sodium we consume comes from sprinkling salt on food, from condiments such as ketchup, and from natural sources. The majority of our sodium consumption, however, comes from processed foods. The list of significant sodium sources includes fast foods, canned and frozen vegetables, canned and dried soups, frozen convenience foods, canned tuna, cured meats such as bacon and ham, and chips and other salty snacks. Sodium is even found in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals—it turns out that we may be consuming sodium without even tasting its presence!

Many of the foods on that list are a part of my every day diet—and probably part of yours, too. In 2014, I’m going to reimagesCAL4QSDGduce the amount of sodium I consume. I will eat more fresh and unprocessed food, start making my own soups, and commit to eating more veggies.

Yes, I know this means I’ll be spending a little more time in the kitchen, but considering the health benefits for myself and my family, I think it’s worth it. I’m also going to break the habit of adding salt to my food at the dinner table. To make sure that food still tastes delicious, I plan to use more herb seasoning and other salt substitutes–that way I won’t miss the salt shaker so much. At the grocery store, I’m going to take the time to read the nutrition labels, looking out for foods that contain less than 500mg per serving and trying out low sodium alternatives to the products I usually buy.

By the end of this year, I expect that I will have very much reduced my daily consumption of sodium, and helped my family to do so, too. It might be a little difficult at first, but I know that we’ll all feel a little better for it!

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