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Beginning a Low Salt Diet
A food's sodium content level is listed on the nutrition label of prepackaged foods and describes how much salt is in the food. Salt is used in foods as a preservative, especially in dried and canned foods, or as a flavor-inducing agent. Low salt diets are recommended, especially for patients with high blood pressure, and sodium intake should be limited to about 2000 milligrams of salt per day. If you decide to begin a low salt diet, you may be surprised at the sodium content of your favorite snacks. Even food that does not taste salty may contain large quantities of sodium. There are, however, a variety of foods that have a low sodium content and are healthy for you. These foods are ideal for lowering blood pressure while maintaining a healthy, low-calorie diet.
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Another natural food, eggs are high in protein, but low in sodium. Eggs are the perfect breakfast choice because they keep you feeling full for long periods of time.
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While yogurt is a popular breakfast item, it also doubles as a nutritious afternoon snack. Low in sodium, yogurt is rich in acidophilus, which helps regulate bladder function.
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Fresh meat has very low sodium content because it is designed to be eaten shortly after you buy it. Avoid choosing canned meats or dried meat-snacks, such as beef jerkey, which are stuffed with sodium. Fresh meat contains large amounts of protein to stimulate muscle development and strength without the danger of sodium.
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Potatoes often come in prepackaged bags or cans to minimize the amount of time you spend cooking, but prepackaged potatoes are prepackaged with salt. Fresh potatoes contain very small amounts of sodium, and while you may spend extra time cooking them, you will also have more cooking options. Bake potatoes or fry them with fresh vegetables to make a delicious side dish. Because potatoes are high in starch, limit the amount you consume while dieting.
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Regular butter has a dirty little secret: it's loaded with hidden salt. You may not be able to taste it, but it's there. Select unsalted butter for your baking and eating needs to keep your daily sodium intake at a minimum.
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Strawberries are a quick, healthy snack you can throw in a plastic snack bag and take with you anywhere. Fresh strawberries are also low in sodium but high in potassium. You can also sprinkle strawberries on your breakfast cereal or eat them with a slice of cheese as a snack.
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Canned, wet beans contain sodium, but dry beans do not. Dry beans are an excellent alternative to easy canned beans, but they require a bit of preparation to cook. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water to allow the beans to soak up as much water as possible. When you are ready to eat the beans, just heat them on your stovetop.
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Even if you find yourself rushing and busy, it is possible to consume low sodium diet foods with a small amount of thoughtful preparation. The time it takes to plan and prepare low sodium meals is astoundingly worth the health benefits you will reap.
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University of California, San Francisco. Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet. Retrieved 8th June 2010 from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/adult/edu/lowSodiumDiet.html
Heart Failure Society of America. How to Follow a Low-Sodium Diet. Retrieved 8th June 2010 from http://www.hfsa.org/pdf/module2.pdf