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The keys to watching our sodium levels are to be aware of which foods have a high sodium content and to limit how much of those foods we eat. Practice checking the nutrition facts labels of packaged foods for the exact sodium content per serving. Some label terms can help our purchase decisions:
sodium free or salt free
less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
reduced or less sodium
at least 25% less sodium than the food’s standard serving
50% less sodium than the food's standard serving
unsalted or no salt added
no salt added during processing, but could contain naturally occurring sodium
Steps to Reduce Your Sodium
Limit your use of the salt shaker. Try a shaker with smaller holes.
Substitute salt seasoning with other flavorings, such as onion, garlic, lemon, vinegar, black pepper, or parsley.
Choose fresh, frozen or canned vegetables without added salt.
Cook fresh or frozen fish, poultry and meat more often than canned or processed forms.
Compare the amounts of sodium in various brands of frozen dinners, packaged mixes, cereals, cheese, breads, salad dressings, soups and sauces. Sodium content varies widely among different brands.
Rinse canned beans and vegetables to remove added salt before cooking.
Choose foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” or “sodium free.”
Know how much sodium is in your favorite condiments, especially soy sauce, steak sauce, ketchup and salsa. Limit your intake accordingly.
Avoid foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate), particularly when dining out. You can ask to have your meal prepared without MSG.
Try to limit your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams.
One thing that the experts do agree on is that getting a balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables is more important than obsessing over one ingredient, like sodium. So it’s good to be mindful of how much sodium you’re taking in, but concentrate more on an overall nutritious diet.
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