Sodium is a mineral that is found in table salt and many other foods. The body needs sodium to function. However, consumption of too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.
A certain amount of sodium is naturally present in food. However, sodium is often added to food for taste, preservation and to modify texture.
To reduce your intake of sodium, follow these tips:
- Reduce your consumption of prepared or ready-to-eat foods; 75% of salt consumed comes from these foods. Examples include:
- Fast foods
- Ready-to-eat meals
- Processed meats, such as cold cuts
- Canned soups and bouillon cubes
- Condiments, such as ketchup and marinades
- Salty snacks, such as chips
- Go for products with a salt content of less than 15% daily value (DV) per serving. Read the ‘nutrition facts’ label for the foods you eat. The DV tells you if a food has a little salt (less than 5% DV) or is high in salt (more than 15% DV).
- Reduce the amount of salt you add to your meals. For some dishes, a gradual reduction, varying between 5% and 10%, of the amount of salt will go unnoticed. So for 5 mL (1 tsp) of salt, you can remove 1 mL to 2 mL without affecting the taste of the dish.
- Add fresh herbs to your meals while reducing the amount of salt. The taste will be as pronounced but different.
- To season your food, add salt-free spices, lemon juice or garlic rather than salt. You’ll discover different flavours and gradually grow accustomed to the taste of less-salty food. Beware of sea salt, celery salt, garlic salt and onion salt, all of which contain sodium. Their consumption must be restricted in the same way as table salt.
Helpful websites about sodium
Government of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation