Tips for Taming Your Salt Habit

Say so long to excess sodium. Reduce your salt intake for a healthier heart.

Salt has long been used to flavor and preserve foods. Our bodies need sodium to function properly. However, too much salt can have a negative impact on your heart health. Keeping sodium at a healthy level will decrease your blood pressure and boost your cardiac health. Healthy adults should not exceed 2300 mg of sodium each day (equivalent of one teaspoon of table salt). Those with high blood pressure should reduce to 1500 mg of sodium per day.

Health Effects of Sodium

  • High blood pressure
  • Fluid build-up with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, or kidney disease
  • Higher risk for heart attack and stroke

Ways You Can Reduce Your Salt Intake

  • Pay attention to nutrition facts on labels for sodium content.
  • Notice serving sizes so you know exactly how much sodium you are getting.
  • Check your medications for sodium content.
  • Cut down on salt gradually to ease your taste buds into it.
  • Choose low or no-salt versions of crackers, chips, and other prepared foods.
  • Flavor foods with herbs and spices.
  • Use lemon juice on fish and vegetables.
  • Rinse canned vegetables to remove excess salt.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods.
  • Eat foods with potassium to combat the effects of salt.
  • Don’t add salt to your cooking.
  • Request low-salt meals at restaurants.
  • Don’t keep salt at the table.

You can learn more about reducing your salt when dining out in St. Petersburg General Hospital’s online health library. Keeping your sodium intake to less than 2300 mg a day will reduce your risk for high blood pressure and lead to a healthier heart.

We welcome you to join us for a special healthy eating seminar on February 6, 2013 from 12 to 1 p.m. at Ivy Ridge Living.  Dr Suzanne Johnson will discuss the DASH diet and salt intake and how it can affect blood pressure and weight loss and promote a healthy heart. Visit our online event calendar to learn more and register for this event.

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