Sodium fact sheet
Most people in the United States consume more sodium than they need for good health. A diet high in sodium can be significant to a number of diseases, including coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes. Salt is the common name for sodium chloride, which is about 40 percent sodium. The American Heart Association's guidelines for limiting your intake to three grams of sodium means you should be getting about one level teaspoon of salt each day.
Surprisingly enough, our taste for sodium is acquired and can be "unacquired" by learning to appreciate natural flavor as well as other spices, herbs and flavor enhancers. Consider these tips to reduce your sodium intake:
Avoid all "salting" after food is cooked. Enjoy the natural flavors and reduce your intake by as much as 50 percent.
Cut cooking salt in half. Salt is an enhancer and should be treated as such. Use only 25-30 percent of what's indicated in the recipe to accentuate natural flavors.
Double up on vanilla or other flavors while reducing salt.
Read the label
Watch for monosodium glutamate, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, food preserved in brine or pickled, most extracts, meat tenderizers, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic salt, commercial bouillon and seasoning blends. Seasoning blends, unless specified, are generally 50 percent salt.
Sodium compounds are added to foods for many reasons, such as to inhibit mold, to preserve foods, to help cereals cook quickly or to give food a smooth texture. Some of the leading contributors to salt in our diets are canned products (especially soups), cured meats, pickled foods, packaged sauces and gravies, and processed cheese.
To bring out the flavor in your next meal, try the following seasonings:
Beef: Bay leaf, mustard, green pepper, sage, marjoram, mushrooms, nutmeg, onion, pepper, thyme, tomato
Chicken: Paprika, parsley, poultry seasoning, thyme, sage, tarragon, savory
Lamb: Curry, garlic, mint, pineapple, ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika
Pork: Apples, garlic, onion, sage
Fish: Curry, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, lemon juice, marjoram, paprika
- Soup beans --- Try chopped lean varieties of reduced-sodium ham chunks with a low sodium seasoning
- Peas, cauliflower and squash --- rosemary
- Zucchini --- oregano
- Green beans --- dill, basil
- Brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach --- marjoram
Baptist East offers comprehensive services for people with heart disease. For more information, call the hospital's Information Center at (502) 897-8131.