It’s no secret that many Americans are consuming excessive salt. The typical American takes in about 3,400 mg of salt per day.
A Low Sodium Diet is Important for People with Diabetes
Reducing the amount of sodium in the diet can help many people lower their blood pressure. Decreasing high blood pressure also implies you are reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke, both which prevail diabetes complications. The American Diabetes Association advises that individuals with diabetes aim to have 2300 mg or less per day. If you have hypertension, your healthcare provider may recommend even less.
It is estimated that about 75% or more of the salt Americans eat is from processed, packaged foods. Many business are slowly trying to reduce the quantity of sodium in their items, however there is still much work to be done.
In general, fresh, unprocessed foods are the most affordable salt foods out there. So, an easy method to cut down on salt is to eat more of these foods and less highly-processed foods. Fresh, unprocessed foods include:
- fresh fruits
- fresh vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy)
- dried beans, peas, and vegetables (buying dried beans, peas, and beans is best considering that canning adds a significant amount of sodium)
- whole grain foods prepared without salt like brown rice, wild rice, oats, quinoa, popcorn, and whole grain barley
- unsalted nuts and seeds
- most fresh or frozen (not processed) cuts of meat, poultry and fish without added seawater or saline
Below we’ve offered a list of foods that are generally high in salt, along with some related suggestions to follow when you choose to include them in your meal strategy.
- Frozen meals — Choose frozen meals with 600 mg of sodium per serving or less. (Be sure to inspect the serving size, too.)
- Cheese — Use less cheese in your recipes and meals. When selecting which to purchase, use the nutrition label to compare various cheeses, and select those that are lower in sodium. Fresh mozzarella crammed in water and Swiss cheese are typically on the low end.
- Canned veggies and canned beans — Buying these products fresh or frozen without included salt is an excellent option. If you wish to stay with cans, search for “no salt included” or reduced-sodium ranges.
Before utilizing canned vegetables or beans, drain and rinse them completely with cold water.
- Processed or cured meats — Limit these types of meat. This includes hotdogs, bologna, salami, bacon, and sausage items. Rather, choose fresh or frozen meats and poultry, fresh fish, and plant-based protein sources like tofu or dried beans.
- Other deli meats (chicken, ham, roast beef, turkey) — Choose reduced-sodium varieties and beware of portion size. When you make sandwiches, use 2-3 pieces and then include other healthy, lower-sodium components like: avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and/or hummus. When you can, prepare fresh meats or poultry on the weekend and use it for sandwiches throughout the week.
- Numerous dressings (specifically soy sauce, dressings/marinades, tomato or spaghetti sauce, and teriyaki sauce — There are also other condiments that can be a considerable source of sodium if you have too much. This includes: salsa, ketchup, taco sauce and flavoring, garlic salt, onion salt, hot sauce, and bbq sauce. Always check labels and pick lower-sodium varieties. Look for salt-free spices and use them to improve the flavor of your dishes. Be cautious about the quantity of dressing you use, and determine if you need to — you might be surprised how a bit can still include a great deal of flavor to your meal. Even decreased salt variations of some dressings like soy sauce consist of over 700 mg per tablespoon, so read labels carefully. Attempt making your own salad dressing or salsa at home for a lower-sodium version.
- Soups and broths — Make your very own broths and soup at home. It’s easy to boil a chicken with some vegetables and use the broth to make a soup without including any salt. If you wish to buy soup or broth from the store, search for reduced-sodium ranges.
- Prepared blends for pasta, rice, and so on — These extremely processed foods can easily be replaced with healthy, homemade recipes that use fresh, natural ingredients. If you are searching for a range of healthy recipes, you may want to have a look at our Quick Dinner Ideas for Diabetics.
- Pickled foods like pickles, delight in, and sauerkraut — These foods are generally very high in salt. One pickle wedge can have 500 mg of sodium! Limit these foods as much as possible.
- Lots of restaurant foods — Many dining establishment meals (both fast-food and sit-down) have sufficient salt in them for the whole day. Large parts become part of the issue. Conserve half of your meal for the next day — this will help you cut sodium in half too. You can likewise ask your server to have your food prepared without salt. Have a look at the nutrition info online ahead of time. Always remember to consider salt when taking a look at your alternatives. Finding lower salt alternatives can be difficult. It might be much easier to prepare from scratch as frequently as you can so you understand exactly what is going into your food.
See also: Carb Counting for People with Diabetes
More Sodium-Savvy Tips
Here are some additional suggestions that can help you cut back on sodium throughout your day:
Put in the time to inspect labels at the supermarket. Examine the quantity of salt in a serving and compare it to other comparable products. This may sound lengthy, however next time you shop for groceries, you’ll know what best choices are and exactly where to find them.
Be aware that in some cases fat-free and reduced fat items have more sodium in them. It is usually added to give these items more taste. Inspect the nutrition labels on these items so you understand what you are getting.
Limit the quantity of salt that you include when cooking. Instead, stock your spice cabinet with salt-free spices and spices. Try to find dishes that don’t require added salt. Fresh herbs, citrus juices, vinegars, and garlic are all low-sodium methods to include flavor to your food. Here are some examples:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice on steamed vegetables, broiled fish, rice, or pasta. You might want to try squeezing fresh lime juice on Spanish dishes.
- Try salt- or sodium-free lemon pepper or mesquite spices on chicken.
- Include cooked onion and garlic to spruce up meats and veggies.
- Add fresh herbs to salads, pasta, or rice meals to improve taste rather of adding salt or high-sodium condiments.
- Marinate veggies or prepare them with balsamic vinegar.
Put the Salt Shaker Away
Refrain from utilizing the salt shaker at the table. Try your food without salting it first — it might be much better than you think! You’ll get a true taste of the natural tastes in the food you prepare. If you need to, remove the salt shaker from the table all together. Keep the pepper out if you want to add a kick to your meal.
Make Some Simple Swaps
Here are simply a couple of more handy ideas to slim down the salt in your diet:
- Purchase unsalted natural peanut butter and almond butter.
- Select saltless nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted.
- Swap out a snack of chips or pretzels for a piece of fresh fruit with saltless peanut butter or trail mix.
- Purchase fresh meat or poultry on the weekend and cook it up utilizing fresh herbs and spices. Shop and portion it out for lunch sandwiches the list below week.
- Purchase spaghetti and marinara sauce identified as “no salt included”.
- If a recipe calls for salt, cut the amount in half.
- Choose recipes that call for fresh components that have actually been minimally processed.
- Milk and whole wheat bread are healthy carbohydrate choices. Nevertheless, they have enough salt in them that it can build up if you have too much. If you have diabetes, you probably already see your intake of these foods. You can still have them, but know that 1 cup of milk has about 130 mg and 1 slice of entire wheat bread could have 130 mg or more.
See also: Can Fad Diets Help Control Diabetes?
Note: Some individuals attempt to use salt alternatives instead in place of table salt. These alternatives are high in potassium, which could be harmful to some individuals. Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes and make sure they will not hinder another medical condition or your medications if you take them.