When cutting back on sodium, it’s important to start slowly, as going cold turkey can shock your taste buds. “If you try to make chicken soup with no salt, you will notice the difference,” said Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian who specializes in cardiovascular nutrition and is the media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Instead, start with half of the amount of salt you would typically use.
You can also look for low- or reduced-sodium versions of your favorite foods, or make your own versions, like homemade spaghetti sauce. For example, canned tomato sauce can have 1,000 milligrams of sodium per serving. “But canned tomatoes have about 300 milligrams, and tomato paste has very little sodium — so you can just add water or low-sodium chicken broth” to make a sauce, Angelone said.
Using herbs and spices can help bring out flavor in foods without salt. Spice blends without salt can come in handy during cooking. You might use a Mexican blend with cumin, chili pepper and smoked paprika for chili, while blends containing rosemary, thyme and oregano might be well suited for Italian dishes, Angelone explained.
Be sure to look for hidden sources of sodium. Code words for sodium on food labels include fleur de sel, monosodium glutamate and disodium guanylate. And don’t be fooled by different forms of salt, which may appear healthier than they are. “Himalyan pink salt or kosher salt or sea salt all have the same amount of sodium,” Angelone said.
And reduce the amount of processed food you eat.
Salt vs. sodium and the problem with processed foods
Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods and enters our diets through processed foods. White salt crystals are technically a combination of sodium and chloride. In fact, by weight, salt is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
If you sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on your food regularly, cutting it out will eliminate a day’s worth of sodium. But that’s just skimming sodium’s surface, because only 11% of the sodium in our diets comes from the salt shaker, which we may grab during cooking or eating.
Potassium-rich foods: An important part of a salt detox
In addition to limiting sodium, experts say that focusing on increasing potassium-rich foods is an important part of a salt detox.
“Sodium stiffens your arteries … but potassium does the opposite,” Angelone said.
“By eating less salty, processed foods and more simple fresh foods, you are going to automatically consume less sodium and more potassium,” she said.
Finally, when you choose to consume salty snacks and foods, be sure to savor them. “If you are going to have salt, have it in something that really matters. … It makes food taste good, but make sure it really counts,” Angelone said.
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
News credit : Cnn