We should all watch our salt intake


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This article was published 04/05/2021 (516 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Consuming a diet high in sodium can be harmful to your health.

High sodium foods are linked to an increase in blood pressure/hypertension, heart disease and stroke. A lot of high-salt foods also have high fat and caloric content so they will cause you to pack on the pounds.

Those diagnosed with congestive heart failure and fluid retention (edema) should also be careful how much salt they have in their diets. Health Canada’s recommendations is 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day of sodium.

Dreamstime.com It is always a good idea to avoid using salt as much as possible, and to always read the labels of the foods you buy.

That sounds like a lot but let’s put this into perspective. The following is a list of the sodium content of different foods:

• 1 tsp salt = 2.373 mg sodium;

• 1 cup chicken broth = 869 mg sodium;

• ½ cup tomato sauce = 614 mg sodium;

• 75 grams (2 .5½ ounces) salami = 1,418 mg sodium;

• 75 grams (2.5 oz) lower-salt pork bacon = 773 mg sodium;

• 1 tbsp soy sauce = 1244 mg sodium;

•1 cup 2% milk = 121 mg sodium;

•1 fresh apple/banana = 1 mg sodium.

Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can be a good start to curbing your salt intake and keep things in check.

The focus of this diet is on consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lower fat dairy products (1 per cent or skim versions). The idea is to consume lean meats, low salt nuts and seeds and pulses a few times a week and limit sweets and junk-type foods likes chips. For cooking, try using poly- or mono-unsaturated fats like olive, canola or safflower oils. Substitute the salt shaker with healthy alternatives such as Mrs. Dash, and more herbs and spices such as garlic or onion powders. The DASH diet also helps you to identify how many servings you should have in each food category based on your age and activity levels.

Read food labels and compare sodium content between the products. Many times, a food item will be labelled low-fat or sugar but be very high in sodium. A good rule of thumb is that the more processed and ready-to-eat an item is, the more salt it will contain.

It is always better to try to prepare fresh meals and snacks. Pack your own lunch to avoid eating out. Keep in mind that all kinds of salt are high in sodium. Salt is an acquired taste and within a few weeks of cutting back, your palate will change and you will wonder how you ever ate so much salt before. 

Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse
Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

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