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Wednesdays with Whitney: Talkin' Salt!

Salt, you know you love it…

Most of us think about the saltshaker, that pesky little thing that is on tables, in cabinets and drawers. Salt is also in most processed and packaged foods. While eliminating the saltshaker is a great start to lowering your salt intake, we typically need to dive in a bit further.

Salt (sodium) is a very important mineral. Our body needs a certain amount of sodium for key roles such as water balance and muscle functioning. On the flip side, too much sodium can increase our risk for developing heart disease and high blood pressure. Salt in food typically acts as a preservative and adds flavor.

Most of us get too much sodium. Did you know that 1.5 teaspoons of sodium equals 3400 mg? That is about 1100 mg more than the upper level of recommended intake per day. So, how can you reduce your salt intake?

  • Focus on fruit and veggies with no added sodium as they are naturally low in sodium (canned or frozen are just fine but make sure to check the label for no sodium or added juices).

  • Select low/no sodium options (think canned options, no sauces or cheese on frozen items).

  • Rinse canned options with water before using.

  • Focus on less processed meats (less bacon, pepperoni and hot dogs and sausage).

  • Make your own meals when you can. This way you have control over what is added. Make your own sauces or soups and use low/no sodium ingredients.

  • Flavor foods with garlic, powders or seasoning mixes (check out PRFC’s Spice of the Month).

  • Eat smaller portions of foods you know have lots of sodium (pizza, pre-made soups, chips, snacks, etc.).

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