Don’t be salty. Here’s how to cut salt in your diet

Don’t be salty. Here’s how to cut salt in your diet

Salty or sweet? If you are team salt, you may be one of the many Americans who consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, according to a Food and Drug Administration report. The average healthy adult should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily, per the FDA’s recommendation.

Sodium consumption is all about balance. Too much or too little can lead to health issues. If you don’t consume enough sodium, your body has a hard time balancing water levels, which can impact muscle function. Whereas consuming too much sodium can lead to, or worsen, heart disease, high blood pressure, vascular disease, kidney disease, kidney stones or osteoporosis, according to Mallory Storrs, a registered dietitian at Advocate Health Care.

Other signs you need to cut back on sodium include: 
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Swollen fingers, ankles or face
  • Salt cravings

You may be familiar with salt substitute, a product where sodium is removed and replaced with potassium. Besides not being the most appetizing option, it also can be dangerous if you have certain health conditions, especially kidney disease. Instead, try natural ingredients. After all, reducing sodium in your diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste.

To replace salt in your diet, Storrs recommends the following alternatives:
  • Fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley. This adds a tremendous amount of flavor, you won’t even think about grabbing the saltshaker.
  • Fresh lemon, lime or orange juice. The acid from the fresh fruit will help bring out the natural flavor of the dish.
  • Vinegars, like apple cider or balsamic. These have natural tartness which enhance foods without the need for added salt.

Medications, age and certain health conditions can impact sodium levels. That’s why it’s important to always check in with your health care provider before making any changes to your diet.

Take a free online quiz to learn your risk for heart disease.

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One Comment

  1. My ankles are swollen constant

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.