According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 70% of Canadian adults exceed the daily upper limit for salt intake. Too much sodium in your diet can increase risk of developing high blood pressure, so it’s a good idea to consider other ways of adding flavor to your foods.
A good place to start is by reducing the amount of packaged and processed foods you eat. It is these products, not the salt added during food preparation or at the table, that account for the majority of salt in our diets. Cooking from scratch can help you cut your sodium intake by up to 75 percent!
While it would be nice, it’s probably not realistic that every meal you eat will be made from scratch. When you are choosing packaged foods, reading nutrition labels will give you an idea of whether it is a high or low sodium item. Look at the percent daily value (%DV) on the right hand column of the nutrition facts table. For nutrients like fat or carbohydrates, the % DV is not totally accurate as it is based on a 2000 calorie diet and everyone’s calorie needs are different. The %DV for sodium on the other hand, will give you an accurate picture as the upper limit is the same for all healthy adults, 2300 mg.
One last tip, don’t be fooled by marketing claims! One question I get asked often is “Isn’t sea salt better for you?”. While sea salt may contain trace amounts of minerals and elements that may give it a different color or flavor, the sodium content is the same.
- rinse canned vegetables and beans to get rid of excess salt
- season cooking with flavorful herbs like basil, cilantro and dill
- use fresh squeezed lemon or lime for an extra kick
- read nutrition labels
- limit fast food and pre packaged meals
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