Low Sodium Diet
Sodium plays an essential role to the body by balancing fluids and helping the muscle and nerve functions. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), individuals should consume less than 500 mg of sodium, which is approximately ¼ teaspoon, per day for health purposes. On average, the typical American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium daily; this is well over the recommended consumption amount.
Most of the foods you eat already have high amounts of sodium, but you may not realize it. Below is a link from WebMD which lists the sodium contents of common foods. Use it as a guide when shopping for groceries. Make sure to read the Nutrition Facts on products you purchase; low sodium items are 35 mg or less and 5 mg or less is considered sodium-free. Also, try to avoid purchasing processed, package, and canned foods as they have high sodium contents. When dining out, restaurants use an excessive amount of salt to add flavor; one meal alone could have a sodium count of 1,500 mg or more. So ask if your dish can have little or no salt added.
When shopping for a low sodium diet, think of fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a great list of low sodium foods from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Now that you have a better understanding of low sodium foods, you can create low sodium dishes. The All Recipes Website has a variety of healthy low sodium recipes. Remember to keep your sodium intake at 1,500 mg or less per day, if you can.
For more information on low sodium diets:
America Heart Association, How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?
WebMD, 5 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Salt
WebMD, Heart Failure and a Low-Salt Diet
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Low Sodium Foods: Shopping list
All Recipes, Low-Sodium Recipes
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The bulk of food consumption should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products.