10 SIMPLE steps to make GOOD habits more DELICIOUS: STEP 5

I apologize for my absence! My schedule has been all over the place with this internship. This past week I finally had a break so I spent time visiting family, relaxing, and working on projects for the internship. So today is my last day of my break and I felt I should post at least once on my blog.

So I am back with the series I started weeks ago with step 5; reducing sodium in the diet. I thought this was very appropriate seeing as April 7 is world health day – blood pressure take control!

too much sodium in the diet has been linked to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Current recommendations state that daily sodium intake should be less than 2300 mg. for those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, it is recommended sodium intake should be further reduced to 1500 mg a day. However, I do want to say that you should always talk to a physician before making any changes to your diet. A registered Dietitan is also a useful resource when it comes to diet.

ways to reduce sodium in the diet:
know your salty ingredients: salt comes in many forms. Look for sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, sodium ascorbate, and MSG (monosodium glutamate) on the ingredients list.

make it at home: by becoming the chef, you can control what goes in (or doesn’t go Into) your meals. You can manage the amount of salt!

focus on fresh: try to reduce your intake of processed foods like cured meats, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats, canned soups, frozen meals, etc. these foods tend to contain excessive amounts of sodium as well as lots of nasty chemicals and added ingredients you really don’t need. This goes back to the previous tip, just make it yourself. I know it can be more work but your heart and your body will really thank you.

hide the salt shaker: try to find other ways to flavor your foods. Set out just the pepper shaker or other spices or herbs that will compliment whatever dish you are serving.

choose fresh fruits and vegetables (or frozen) as opposed to canned : fresh and frozen are your best options as they typically have no added ingredients. Canned, on the other hand, often has extra salt added to preserve the food. If you buy canned vegetables or beans, you can rinse them, boil them, then rinse them again before eating to reduce some of the sodium. Your best bet, however, is to just buy fresh or frozen (or dried beans) so you don’t have to worry about sodium.

get creative: try ginger, garlic, pepper, lemon juice, and various herbs and spices to add flavor. Instead of onion salt, try onion powder and replace garlic salt with fresh garlic. If using flavor packets during cooking, try using just a sprinkling instead of the entire packet.

So tips in a nutshell; go fresh/frozen, hide the salt shaker, read labels carefully, become the chef!

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