The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults and children ages 14 years and older reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. Adults with prehypertension and hypertension are encouraged to reduce their intake further to 1,500 mg per day, since that can help to reduce blood pressure.
Here are ways you can eat right with less salt:
- Focus on fresh foods. Many foods in their original form, such as fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, milk, yogurt and grains like rice are naturally low in sodium. Include these foods more often in meals and snacks
- Eat processed and prepared foods less often. Highly processed and ready-to-eat foods tend to be higher in sodium. Eat these foods only occasionally or in smaller amounts – especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and deli or luncheon meats; and ready-to eat foods, like canned chili, soups and "instant" flavored noodles and rice.
- Cook more often at home. Enjoy home-prepared foods where you are in control of how much salt is added. Use little or no salt when cooking. Even if package instructions say to add salt to the water before boiling, it isn’t required and can be omitted. When using canned vegetables with salt added, be sure to drain and rinse the vegetables to reduce the amount of salt.
- Try new flavors. Skip the salt and try salt-free seasonings such as herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, black pepper or lemon juice. Make your own salt-free seasonings by combining herbs and spices.
- Read food labels. Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Compare the amount of sodium listed and select the product with the lower amount. Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
- Use caution with condiments. Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressing and seasoning packets are high in sodium. Try low-sodium soy sauce and ketchup. Sprinkle only a small amount from a seasoning packet, not the entire amount.
- Allow your taste buds to adjust. Like any change, it can take time for your taste buds to adapt to less salt. Foods lower in sodium may taste differently at first, but over time it’s possible to acquire a taste for foods with less salt. Salt-free Seasoning Blends boost the flavor of foods with salt-free herb and spice blends.
Information/Article via Eat Right: Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.