It’s hard to avoid salt. It’s everywhere! And if you’re living one of those rush-everywhere no-time-to-cook days, weeks, or months… you may be eating a lot of those prepackaged dinners. Those things are loaded with salt.
A recent study out of Great Britain found that cutting just three grams of salt out of your daily diet can reduce your risk of stroke by thirteen percent and your risk of heart disease by ten percent. The average person eats nine grams of salt per day, so reducing your salt intake to six grams per day would be ideal.
I just grabbed the ever-present bag of pretzels at my desk and checked the salt content. One serving (approximately five pretzels) has twenty percent of your daily recommended salt allowance! Five little pretzels has one-fifth of the amount of salt you should eat in a day. Cutting back on the pretzels would be a good way for me to reduce my salt intake by a lot! And by the way… cutting out the pretzels still doesn’t get me to that three gram goal. I’m going to have to look at some other foods to cut back on.
To give you an idea of how much salt is in your favorite foods — and how to trim down your salt intake — here are some foods that have approximately three grams of salt.
- Three slices of deli ham
- Seven cubes of cheese
- Three dill pickle spears
- Fourteen green pimento olives
Here are some tips to help you reduce your salt intake:
- Cut back on those frozen or prepackaged dinners
- Cut back on canned soups
- Make sure the vegetables you buy canned or frozen say “no salt added”
- Try cooking with different herbs and spices
- Try a salt-free seasoning blend like Mrs. Dash
- Don’t add salt to the water when cooking rice or pasta
And you may see different things on your food labels. Low sodium vs. reduced sodium vs. sodium free… what does it all mean? For example, if a product is labeled “unsalted” or “without added salt” or “no salt added” it means that no salt has been added. The food is normally processed using salt, but this time it’s flying salt free. Here are some other salt code words:
- Low in sodium = 50% less sodium than the original product
- Reduced sodium = 25% less sodium than the original product
- Low sodium = less than 140 milligrams of sodium in a serving
- Very low sodium = less than 35 milligrams of sodium in a serving
- Sodium free = less than 5 milligrams of sodium in a serving