Are You Eating Too Much Salt? Break Up With This Bad Habit
Even if you never sprinkle a drop of salt on your food, you’re still likely consuming more sodium than you should.
Most Americans eat more than twice the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommended amount of sodium per day, which is 1,500 milligrams. Much of this over-consumption of salt comes from processed, packaged, convenience foods and meals we eat out at restaurants. This “sneaky salt” is cleverly portrayed by the AHA in this humorous video.
Why should you worry about salt? Too much puts you at risk for elevated blood pressure, which could contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Here’s how you can shake off this bad habit. (Pun absolutely intended.)
At a restaurant. Ideally, cut back on eating out altogether, as restaurants tend to be sodium minefields. Still, you’re human and you will end up at a restaurant sooner or later. Here’s how to cut the salt.
- Check out nutritional information online before you go. This isn’t an option everywhere, but many restaurants are starting to offer this service, especially chains.
- Specify that you don’t want extra salt added as your meal is prepared.
- Order carefully. Avoid salty toppings such as barbecue or soy sauce. Go for dishes that are grilled, roasted, steamed, or baked.
At the store. If you don’t buy food with a lot of sodium, you won’t end up eating it. When you’re making your way through grocery store aisles, make sure extra salt doesn’t make its way into your cart. Select no- or low-sodium foods and read labels on everything. Check out these grocery items that you might want to avoid altogether.
At home. Add flavor with herbs, spices, and low-sodium seasonings, not salt. Rinse canned veggies to get rid of extra sodium before adding to recipes. Don’t set out the salt shaker at dinner – it’s likely nobody will even notice or ask for it.
Need extra motivation to kick your salt habit? Make a pledge through the AHA’s sodium breakup campaign, which will sign you up to receive tips and motivation to keep going. You can also find a quiz, infographics, recipes and more on the campaign website.
Photo credit: Dubravko Soric