How to Reduce Salt and Sodium Intake

Reduce Salt and Sodium Intake to Improve Your Heart Health

Improve your heart health with a series of steps including exercise and healthy, managed nutrition. Eat mainly whole, natural foods---these are foods with one ingredient, the food itself. Fruits and vegetables have one ingredient.

Foods in a bag or box have many harmful fats, sodium and other ingredients that you don't need. Shop on the perimeter of your supermarket to find most whole, natural foods.

And, only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in whole foods. That means processed foods have loads of sodium added to them. Just read the nutrition facts label carefully.

According to a Mayo Clinic article, "Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now," we are eating way too much sodium. "The average American gets about 3,400 mg of sodium a day — much more than recommended."

The article also states, "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease."

"Keep in mind that these are upper limits, and less is usually best, especially if you're sensitive to the effects of sodium. If you aren't sure how much sodium your diet should include, talk to your doctor."

According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, DASH Eating Plan: Lower Your Blood Pressure, these recommendations are given to lower your salt and sodium intake:

--Choose low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods and condiments when available.

--Choose fresh, frozen, or canned (low-sodium or no-salt-added) vegetables.

--Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked, or processed types.

--Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.

--Limit cured foods (such as bacon and ham); foods packed in brine (such as pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and
sauerkraut); and condiments (such as mustard, horseradish, ketchup, and barbecue sauce). Limit even lower sodium versions of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. Treat these condiments sparingly as you do table salt.

--Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.

--Choose “convenience” foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, mixed dishes such as pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings—these often have a lot of sodium.

--Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and canned beans, to remove some of the sodium.

--Use spices instead of salt. In cooking and at the table, flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends. Start by cutting salt in half.

When Eating in a Restaurant:

--Ask how foods are prepared. Ask that they be prepared without added salt, MSG, or salt-containing ingredients. Most
restaurants are willing to accommodate requests.

--Know the terms that indicate high sodium content: pickled, cured, smoked, soy sauce, broth.

--Move the salt shaker away.

--Limit condiments, such as mustard, ketchup, pickles, and sauces with salt-containing ingredients.

--Choose fruit or vegetables, instead of salty snack foods.

Okay, what about your exercise habits? Have you been working out the way you need to....if not, get yourself in gear! To be honest, my personal workouts are usually 40-45 minutes for strength workouts and 20 minutes for interval cardio workouts. I do them at a gym, park or playground. So, there are no excuses.

Long, slow cardio sessions wastes time and your precious muscle mass also wastes away. Devote more time to strength training and less time to cardio. That way, you will build more muscle mass, burn fat and speed up your metabolism.

Research supports the superior heart-health benefits of anaerobic exercise (like strength circuits and intervals) over aerobic exercise. That's why my workout books have anaerobic-type workouts.

If you want to take your workouts to a higher level and blowtorch body fat, my FREE Bodyweight Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts are what you need. There are 3 levels: Bodyweight 200, 300 and 500. Start at the level you can handle.

About Mark


Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.