Flavorful Ways to Decrease Sodium in your Diet

Flavorful Ways to Decrease Sodium in your Diet

♪ [music playing–no dialogue]
♪♪. Hi. I’m Laurie Lienhop,
and I’m a dietetic intern at Eastern Illinois University. Today I’ll be discussing
flavorful ways to decrease the sodium in your diet. According to the American Heart
Association, almost one-third of adults have high blood
pressure, which is also called hypertension. There are not physical symptoms
of hypertension, so the only way to know if you have high
blood pressure is to get it checked by your doctor. If you’re told that you have
high blood pressure, you can use several methods such as weight
loss, exercise, and diet changes to decrease your blood pressure. Reseach has shown that diets
high in sodium increase blood pressure, therefore
diets low in sodium can decrease your blood pressure. The 2005 dietary guidelines
for Americans recommends that American adults
consume no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium a
day. That’s equal to about 1
teaspoon. Current research studies show,
however, that American men consume about twice this amount
of sodium while women consume about one and one-half this
amount. This shows that we
all can benefit from decreasing our sodium. So where does all this sodium
come from? Well some foods naturally
contain sodium. The greatest contributor is
salt. It can be added during
cooking, at the table, or during processing. Some popular foods that are high
in sodium include pickled items, lunch meats, canned vegetables
and soups, prepared mixes, snack items, and frozen meals. Items such as baking soda,
baking powder, and MSG also contain sodium. It’s important to remember
that not all foods with added salt taste salty. So the first step in monitoring
your sodium intake starts at the grocery store. When you’re walking up and down
the aisles, keep your eyes open for several key phrases. These include sodium free, very
low sodium, low sodium–such as this box of rice, reduced
sodium–like this meal, and no salt added–like these
canned vegetables. Buying items with any of these
key phrases are going to contain less salt and therefore
help you decrease the sodium in your diet. If you want to add flavor
without adding extra salt, try using a variety of spices
like cumin, cayenne, and paprika. Or you can use herbs like
chives, basil, and thyme. At first some of the low sodium
food may taste a little different to you, but don’t
worry. As you gradually decrease your
sodium intake over time, your taste buds will adjust and your
preference for salty food will also decrease. The second step in monitoring
your sodium intake includes cooking with less salt. You can start out by decreasing
the salt called for in recipes by one-fourth, then you can
gradually decrease over time. Like I just said, you can use
herbs and spices, you can make your own special blend or you
can buy pre-made blends that are salt free at the grocery store,
like Mrs. Dash. You can also try adding a splash
of lemon juice or vinegar to vegetables, soup, and fish
dishes. Instead of buying bottled
marinades–which are high in sodium–you can make your
own with fruit juice, wine, or flavored vinegars or oils. Try chopping fresh aromatic
vegetables, like onions and celery, to throw them in the mix
for some added freshness. The third way to decrease your
sodium is to buy more fresh produce. We sometimes get in the rut of
eating the same old peas and carrots, but there’s so much out
there. Go to our grocery store to
the produce section and take a look around. Pick out something new and try
it in a new way. For example, you can buy onions
and tomatoes, slice them thick, and put them on the grill with
some oil. Toss with some basil leaves
and you have a great summer grilled salad. For a side dish try blanching
some asparagus with some lemon juice and sprinkling
with a bit of cayenne pepper before serving. If you have a sweet tooth, try
boiling some pears or plums in simple syrup with some cinnamon. Limiting your sodium doesn’t
have to be bland and boring. You can buy low sodium fresh
foods and customize them with the flavors you want. Just remember to look for key
phrases on the label, cook with less sodium, and buy more fresh
fruits and vegetables. You can go to www.allrecipes.com
or www.lowsodiumcooking.com to find new recipes to try on your
own. It’s a win-win situation. You can have delicious
foods while lowering your blood pressure. ♪ [music playing–no dialogue]

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