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Focus on Eating Less Salt

Allison Benson, R.D., L.R.D., Program Assistant, NDSU Extension Service

National Nutrition Month is here, and we have many ways we can eat and drink healthier. Most people in the U.S. can work on eating less salt, because we tend to consume more than the recommended 2,300 mg sodium per day. Sodium plays a role in high blood pressure or hypertension. Try the following tips to reduce your daily sodium intake.

Cook at home. When you prepare meals at home you can control the amount of salt you add or don’t add. Leave out salt when boiling pasta, because it is not necessary. Rinse canned vegetables to reduce the sodium added during packaging, and add a little water if desired.

Eat fresh foods. Raw fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in sodium. Other fresh foods such as meats, poultry, eggs, dry beans, milk and yogurt are  good low-sodium choices.

Choose processed foods less often. Processed foods such as pizza, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, luncheon meats, canned chili, soups and “instant” flavored noodles and rice are foods that typically have higher sodium content. Try to eat these foods less often.

Make salt-free seasoning blends. Combine herbs such as dried parsley flakes, tarragon, oregano, dill weed, and celery flakes for a homemade salt-free seasoning blend. Also use garlic, vinegar, black pepper or lemon juice to add flavor to foods.

As with any change, allow time for your body to adapt. Getting used to food with less salt may take a while, but eventually your taste buds will adjust.  

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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