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By Karen Alexander, Oncology Wellness Specialist


Tips to help you Stick to a Low-Sodium Diet

About 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. have hypertension, and all of them would benefit from a low-salt diet. Check out last week’s bulletin to learn more about sodium’s role when it comes to people with high blood pressure. Today we will share with you the tips and tricks we promised in order to control your salt intake.

Tips to select your foods wisely: 

  • Select foods with 140 milligrams (mg) of sodium or less per serving.
  • Make sure you read the serving size on the nutrition label. If you eat more than 1 serving, you will get more sodium than the amount listed.
  • Foods with more than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving do not fit into a reduced-sodium meal plan.
  • Rule of thumb: Choose foods that maintain a 1:1 ratio (1kcal:1mg sodium). For example: 100 kcal: equal or under 100 mg sodium per serving. If the ratio increases, you might want to consider a different brand or food.

Tips for reducing your sodium (salt) intake according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:​
Avoid processed foods and eat more fresh foods.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium, as well as frozen vegetables and fruits that have no added juices or sauces.
  • Fresh meats are lower in sodium than processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and hotdogs. Read the nutrition label or ask your butcher to help you find fresh meat that is low in sodium.

Use less salt—at the table and when cooking.

  • A single teaspoon of table salt has 2,300 mg of sodium.
  • Leave the salt out of recipes for pasta, casseroles, and soups.
  • Cook your favorite recipes without sodium.
  • If you plan to eat at a restaurant, visit the website and read the nutrition information. Then you can choose the options lower in sodium.

Be a smart shopper.

  • Look for food packages that say “salt-free” or “sodium-free.” These items contain less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • “Very low-sodium” products contain less than 35 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • “Low-sodium” products contain less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Beware of “reduced salt” or “reduced sodium” products. These items may still be high in sodium. Check the nutrition label.

Add flavors to your food without adding sodium.

  • Try lemon juice, lime juice, fruit juice or vinegar.
  • Dry or fresh herbs add flavor. Try basil, bay leaf, dill, rosemary, parsley, sage, dry mustard, nutmeg, thyme, or paprika.
  • Pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper can add spice to your meals without adding sodium. Hot sauce contains sodium, but if you use just a drop or two, it will not add too much.
  • Buy a sodium-free seasoning blend or make your own at home.

The recipe of the week is a healthy alternative to salty chips. The recipe comes from Real Simple Good.

Paleo Spiced Nuts (Low Sodium)
1 cup almonds (raw and unsalted)
1 cup cashews (raw and unsalted)
1 cup walnuts (raw and unsalted)
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds (raw and unsalted)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp avocado or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350° F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place nuts in single layer on the sheet pan. Place in oven to roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.
While nuts are roasting, prepare spice mixture by combining smoked paprika, sea salt and garlic powder in a small bowl.
Remove nuts from oven and allow to cool. Transfer to a bowl and coat nuts with olive oil, then coat with spice mixture.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature until serving. 

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