The average American consumes over twice the recommended amount of sodium a day.
High sodium levels in your diet can lead to a number of serious problems over time. Research has also shown that excessive sodium decreases vitamin D levels in your body and doubles your risk of stroke.
The excess fluids that accumulate with sodium consumption can also trigger and aggravate conditions such as arthritis, gout, and kidney or gallbladder stones.
As you get older you will become more sensitive to sodium, so decreasing sodium can make a dramatic difference to your health in later years.
Here are 7 simple and tasty ways to lower your sodium intake:
1. Indulge your sweet tooth. Eat as much sweet, ripe fruit as you desire throughout the day. If you feel full and satiated from the simple sugars from fruit, your cravings for salty foods will lessen.
2. Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned. Canned vegetables are drenched in salt for preservation, as well as to enhance the colors of the overly processed food and bind the ingredients together.
3. Look for potassium rich foods. Natural foods high in potassium such as tomatoes and melons can counteract the impact of sodium by reducing blood pressure and dilating your arteries so blood can flow through more easily.
4. Cook more often. Making your own meals gives you full control over how much table salt you add to your food. Cut back on table salt amounts by 25% a week and you will not really notice much difference.
5. Check menus for sodium content and pick low sodium options when eating out. When grocery shopping, skip processed foods when possible, as processed foods are the main culprit for high sodium intake.
6. Stock up on lemons and limes. The sparkling juice can be used to brighten up the flavor of almost any cuisine successfully. Its taste can compensate for reduction or elimination of table salt in salads, soups, dressings and sauces.
7. Use salt-free seasonings. Herbs and spices can be used to provide a punch of flavor to your food without added sodium. There are even some salt-free spice blends with savory flavors that can be used to replace salt.
The good news is, over time your taste buds will change to become more sensitive, so if you persist, you will find yourself gravitating toward less salty, more natural foods. So start training those taste buds today and start seeing health benefits!