Sodium is essential for balanced health and wellness. The body uses sodium to regulate bodily fluids, fine-tune the nervous system and it works with the body’s muscle system to function optimally. A food list for sodium content in your groceries can help differentiate low, medium and high sodium content foods. Substitutions for higher sodium foods are easy to find and by choosing lower sodium foods, you reduce the risk health problems caused by a diet high in sodium.
Low, Medium and High Sodium Foods
When the body has too high a sodium intake, the results can include stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. Many consumers are of the belief that cutting out table salt will cure the high sodium problem, when in reality pre-packed and processed foods are a bigger concern. Table salt is a direct source of sodium and should be avoided if your goal is a lower sodium diet.
The American Heart Association considers low sodium to be per serving 140 milligrams or less. The higher sodium foods include cured meats, cold cuts and bacon; soy sauce, gravies, soups and dressings; snacks such as potato chips, corn chips, pretzels and crackers; cheeses such as Swiss and gouda, pickled foods and some types of saltwater fish and seafood.
To reduce your sodium intake, consider switching to medium-sodium content foods. Saltine crackers, bagels, pancake/biscuit mixes; sliced cheese, cottage cheese and some puddings; lite salt potato chips and vegetable crackers; steak sauce, mayo and some types of pickles. You should use caution when choosing these medium-sodium foods. Some prepackaged and processed foods and sauces can contain more sodium than you desire. Read labels and nutritional values carefully.
Low sodium foods are often marked with labels like “sodium free”, “no salt added” and “salt free”. To reduce sodium in your diet, try using more of the food list for lower sodium. Produce such as pineapple, olives, blueberries, melon, grapefruit, oranges and chickpeas are low sodium choices. Halibut, tuna, game like bison and lean pork are healthy protein options. Avoid processed and deli meats. Smoked meats have higher sodium. Low sodium starches include oatmeal, cream of wheat and puffed wheat. Soymilk, nuts and dates are all considered low sodium foods.
You can turn high sodium foods into a medium sodium food; for example, by brushing off the salt on the pretzels. Read labels and buy low salt or salt free chips. Rinse canned foods, tuna and peas, reducing the sodium. Throw your salt shaker away. Use new and interesting herbs and spices. Experiment with taste. Lemon, pepper, sage and rosemary are good starter herbs.
Substitute higher sodium foods for lower sodium foods and reduce your intake significantly. Avoid table salt and processed foods and read food labels carefully. Keep a food list for sodium content near your shopping list and make low sodium choices.
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