If you are suffering from edema or bloating, or if your weight loss plan doesn't seem to be working thanks to water retention, you should consider changing to low sodium foods. The best diet plan is one that not only helps you to shed pounds, but also educates you about wise food choices and helps you to improve your health.
Since hypertension is on the rise and more and more people are choosing processed foods (such as the Twinkies diet) over whole, natural foods, a switch to a lower sodium diet can only improve your health and your waistline. Here's how to incorporate low salt foods into your diet.
Learn How to Read Labels
Your education begins with learning how to read food labels. For this purpose, let's lay aside the question of are calories good or bad and focus solely on the sodium content of foods. When looking at a nutritional label, you should pay attention to two items: the serving size and the milligrams of sodium the food contains. Ignore the percentage of daily value estimate, as this does not apply to a low sodium diet.
According to the National Labeling and Education Act, a food can be labeled "low sodium" if it contains 140mg of sodium or less per serving. A food can be classified as "no sodium" if it contains less than 5mg of sodium per serving. Experts agree that a low sodium diet means keeping your intake to 2 grams or less per day. Since the average teaspoon of table salt contains nearly 2,300mg of salt, you can understand how important it is to become vigilant about your sodium intake. Reading labels is your first step.
Low Sodium Dining at Home
At home, you have a great deal of control over how much sodium is put in your food. You can greatly reduce your reliance on salt as a seasoning by learning to season your food with fresh herbs. Rather than buying salted butter, opt for organic unsalted butter. You should also banish processed foods and salty snacks from your pantry.
If you keep all-natural organic cuts of meat on hand, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit, then you are halfway to a low sodium diet as these foods are naturally low in salt. By preparing these foods in a manner that doesn't add much salt, you can enjoy a flavorful and delicious eating plan.
Low Sodium Dining in Restaurants
Low sodium eating is harder to accomplish in restaurants simply because you don't know everything that goes into your meal. If you don't want to prepare every meal at home, you will need to become very picky about how you order your dinner at a restaurant. You should steer clear of foods that are obviously high in salt, such as processed grains, cheese, condiments, and pickled foods.
Try ordering a grilled chicken breast without a marinade, rub, or sauce and ask them to hold the seasonings. Ask for a side order or two of steamed vegetables, without salt or butter. That should give you a low sodium option that won't throw you too far off track with your new diet plan.
Naturally Low Sodium Foods
As mentioned above, some foods are naturally low in sodium. Unprocessed meats (not bacon or sausage, which are high in salt), fresh vegetables, and fruits are all low salt foods. Anything that contains a sauce or seasoning has the potential to be a high sodium food, so try to steer clear of, say, the frozen veggie blends that come with a butter or cheese sauce. If you want to enjoy the occasional serving of popcorn, use an air-popper and don't salt it.
By eating a diet rich in fiber and unprocessed foods, you can embrace a low sodium lifestyle with ease.