Debate Over U.S. Plan to Cut Salt in Diet
Expert Says Nationwide Salt Reduction to Reduce Hypertension Is Short on Evidence
WebMD News Archive
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.