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Debate Over U.S. Plan to Cut Salt in Diet

Expert Says Nationwide Salt Reduction to Reduce Hypertension Is Short on Evidence

Tips to Cut Salt in Your Diet

Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, a nutritionist and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, had several suggestions for how to easily, and painlessly, cut your sodium intake now:

  • Downsize your portions."More calories in the meal equals more sodium. It's that simple," Gazzaniga-Moloo says.
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, and potassium is important to keeping blood pressure low.
  • Scan the "Nutrition Facts" panel on packaged foods for sodium content. About half of consumers read those labels. You should also, not just for salt, but for sodium content.
  • Ask to see nutrition information when eating out. Most chain restaurants have it on hand, but independent restaurants may not.
  • Retrain your taste buds. "By gradually and slowly reducing sodium we can retrain our taste buds to not want so much salt in our diet," according to Gazzaniga-Moloo. Try mixing foods with their low-sodium versions for a nice "middle ground."
  • "Compare, compare, compare." Sodium can vary widely even for similar food items. A 1-ounce serving of bread can range from 95 milligrams to 210 milligrams of sodium. Similar styles of salad dressing can range from 110 milligrams up to 505 milligrams for 2 tablespoons.
  • Know your seasons. Fruits and vegetables that are in season tend to have more flavor on their own and need less salt to taste good.
  • Spices, vinegar, and wine can add plenty of flavor without increasing sodium.
  • Add healthy fat for flavor. Healthy fat-containing foods like olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, and seeds can add flavor without extra salt.
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