Reducing the salt in your diet is beneficial for a wide variety of reasons. You’ll avoid the risks of dehydration and you’ll be in better shape. But one of the most important reasons to follow a reduced salt diet is to help your heart. High salt diets are linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you’ve been diagnosed with either one of these conditions, or you suspect that you may have them, following a reduced salt diet can help your symptoms.
When following a reduced salt diet, you need to keep in mind that this way of eating should be viewed as a lifestyle change and not simply a diet. The changes that you make should be permanent if you hope to become healthy. Fortunately, there are a lot of low salt options that make it easy to stick to this type of diet.
The first thing you need to reduce and ideally eliminate is processed meats. Lunch meat, canned meats and other heavily processed protein products have lots of sodium in them. Avoid pre-seasoned meats since the seasoning normally has a lot of salt. You can greatly reduce your intake by eliminating these foods entirely. Instead, buy fresh meats that you can prepare yourself.
The same goes for bacon, ham, beef jerky and corned beef. These meats have high levels of salt as do hot dogs and pepperoni. Basically, your protein options should consist of meats that you can find exclusively at the butcher counter. Avoid any meat products that are available in the center aisles of the grocery store.
Since canned meats have high salt levels, it’s only natural that canned vegetables do as well. Canned vegetables like green beans and corn are often available in low sodium varieties. Make sure to read the labels on all canned vegetables that you buy.
You can also reduce salt by limiting or avoiding naturally salty canned foods. These foods include sauerkraut, pickles and other pickled foods. By reducing these foods in your overall diet, you’ll greatly reduce your salt intake and improve your health at the same time.
Canned soups are notoriously high in salt. You should always read the label of your favorite soup to see how much sodium there really is in it. Try Healthy Choice or another healthy brand of soup that is lower in salt and fat. Canned gravy, soy sauce and other canned sauces can also have high levels of sodium.
One of the easiest ways to reduce salt in your diet is to make better snack choices. Chips, pretzels, certain crackers and nuts are all very high in salt. Substitute these snacks for fresh fruits, vegetables and low sodium treats and it will be easy to stick to your new low sodium diet.
Along with reducing your sodium, you should also increase your water in take. A lot of times food cravings, especially those for salt, can actually be dehydration in disguise. By getting your recommended 8 eight ounce glasses of water each day you’ll be able to stick to your new way of eating with ease.