Do You Watch Your Salt?

by Lynn on June 5, 2010

I’ve never really had a problem with high blood pressure during my 43 years, but a month or so ago I was having a pain on my right side, and some killer heartburn. I decided to have it checked out, and found out I had high blood pressure.

I thought I read labels and ate fairly healthy, but once I started paying attention to the sodium in the food I ate I was shocked! I found out I was eating over double the recommended daily allowance of salt!

Salt is in almost everything processed, and it’s extremely hard to find low or no sodium alternatives for most foods. And have you ever read the sodium in the nutrition information at your favorite restaurant? Most are through the roof! Many entrees are all of your sodium for the day and more! Even most salads are over a thousand milligrams of salt, and that doesn’t even include the dressing!

I started tracking my sodium in a journal, along with my food intake. It was a huge eye opener.

I’m now reading labels for the sodium content as soon as I pick them up off the grocery shelf. The outside aisle of the grocery store is of course also the lowest in sodium. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and fish are all low in sodium or sodium free. Do watch your meats, some can sneak some added salt in there.

So what are the biggest sodium offenders?

  • Condiments, salad dressings and marinades~ They’re created to add flavor to your food, so of course that innocent ketchup, mustard, and Italian dressing is loaded with flavor enhancing salt.
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, Brats, cold meat, and ham are loaded with sodium, just check out the label. You can find low sodium hot dogs if you look hard.
  • Soups are a huge offender, so are those canned pastas like ravioli, and spaghetti.
  • Frozen dinners and pizzas, some have almost half your sodium for the day.
  • Many baked goods have a surprisingly high amount of sodium.

The journal has helped me to pay attention to my sodium, and I’m happy to say with cutting the sodium, and stepping up the healthy fruits and vegetables, cutting back on processed food my blood pressure is coming back down! I’m really hoping to get back off of the blood pressure medicine. Only time will tell.

Another positive side affect? When I cut the sodium I dropped about 5 lbs within a couple days! I’m fairly sure it was all water I was holding from all the salt I ate. But still woot!

I’ll be back to share some of my favorite low sodium recipes!

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