To help limit your salt intake always look for the low-sodium versions of packaged foods.
What do instant oatmeal, cookies and canned beans have in common? Lots of salt. In fact, most processed foods contain high amounts of sodium, which has caused most Canadians to consume more salt than they need. It may not sound that bad, but for people who are salt sensitive, too much salt can raise their blood pressure and cause strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of death in Canada.
Since it is very difficult to tell if someone is salt sensitive or not, you may want to try and limit your sodium intake.
Where does most of the salt we eat come from?
The majority comes from table salt and processed foods.
Here are just a few examples of processed foods high in sodium:
- Processed Foods High in Sodium
• canned or packaged soups
• canned vegetables, beans, meats and fish
• packaged pasta or rice with sauce
• “instant” versions of foods
• frozen dinners
• frozen pizza
• sauce, marinade & dressings
• processed meats
• smoked/cured fish and meat
• crackers & cookies
To help limit your salt intake always look for the low-sodium versions of packaged foods. Here’s how:
- Look for claims such as free of sodium or salt, low in sodium or salt, reduced in sodium or salt or lower in sodium or salt and aim for less than 2400 mg of sodium per day (about 1 tsp of salt).
- If the product doesn’t have a salt claim, look for the word sodium on the Nutrition Fact table. The percent daily value (% DV) is based on recommendations for a healthy diet and tells you if there is a little or a lot of sodium in the packaged food.
- Choose foods with a low % Daily Value of sodium. A product with 140 mg or less (5 % DV) per serving is considered low in sodium.
It’s easy to spot the word salt or sodium on an ingredient list, but there are other words you should look for.
Sodium is also part of the following ingredients:
• sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
• sodium saccharin
• sodium nitrite
• sodium benzoate
• sodium propionate
• sodium citrate
• sea salt / salt
Although it may be difficult at first to try and limit your salt intake, there are many simple things you can do to make it easier.
Here are just a few helpful tips to lower your dietary sodium intake:
• Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods, lean fresh meats and prepare your own healthy meals.
• Limit smoked/cured meats and fish or foods packed in brine
• Limit instant foods such as instant rice & noodles and frozen meals.
• Choose low-sodium broth and soup.
• Replace some snacks like chips, salted nuts and crackers with vegetables, fruit, yogurt, pita bread and crackers with unsalted tops.
• Reduce pickles, pickled foods, relishes, salsa, dips, sauerkraut, and olives.
• Use condiments in small quantities such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, salad dressings, BBQ sauce.
• Do not add salt to your food during cooking and remove the shaker from the table.
• Cut out or use half the amount of salt in recipes
. • Limit your consumption of fast foods as they are often high in salt.
• Experiment with other flavoring like fresh garlic, lemon or lime juice, vinegars, herbs, spices, onion or pepper instead of the ones that contain salt.