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Diabetes Health Center

Diabetes and Salt

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You're likelier to have high blood pressure if you have diabetes. Getting too much sodium can raise your blood pressure, too. So your doctor or dietitian may ask you to limit or avoid these high-salt foods:

  • Salt and seasoned salt (or salt seasonings)
  • Boxed mixes of potatoes, rice, or pasta
  • Canned meats
  • Canned soups and vegetables (with sodium)
  • Cured or processed foods
  • Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, other spreads, and canned sauces
  • Packaged soups, gravies, or sauces
  • Pickled foods
  • Processed meats: lunch meat, sausage, bacon, and ham
  • Olives
  • Salty snack foods
  • Monosodium glutamate or MSG (often added to Chinese food)
  • Soy and steak sauces

8 Low-Salt Cooking Tips for Diabetes

If you have diabetes, these tips can help you lower the amount of salt in your diet:

  1. Use fresh ingredients or foods with no salt added.
  2. For favorite recipes, you may need to use other ingredients and delete or decrease the salt you would normally add. You can take salt out of most recipes, but don't try it if the recipe calls for yeast.
  3. Try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades.
  4. Avoid canned soups, entrees, and vegetables; pasta and rice mixes; frozen dinners; instant cereal; and pudding, gravy, and sauce mixes.
  5. Select frozen entrees that have fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving (140 mg of sodium per serving is considered low sodium). Check the nutrition facts label on the package for sodium content. Limit yourself to one frozen entree per day.
  6. Use fresh, frozen, or no-added-salt canned vegetables.
  7. You can use low-sodium canned soups.
  8. Avoid mixed seasonings and spice blends that include salt, such as garlic salt.

After about 2 weeks, your body will adjust and you will not miss the added salt in your diet.

Seasonings to Replace Salt

Herbs and spices are the answer to improving the natural flavors in food without using salt. These salt-free seasonings include:

  • Basil
  • Celery seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Dill
  • Flavoring extracts (vanilla, almond, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • No-salt seasoning blends
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Pimiento
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Thyme

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
High
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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