A reduced sodium diet is often prescribed as part of a treatment plan for serious medical conditions like hypertension [high blood pressure], heart conditions, and kidney disease. Some people decide to reduce their sodium intake on their own because they “retain fluid” after eating salty foods, and they do not like the way fluid retention makes them feel, and/or look…often described as “bloated” or “puffy.”
So many of us love salty meals and snacks, and the thought of reducing sodium triggers the fear we will be robbed of enjoyment as we eat. My job as a nutritionist is to make my clients happy while they improve their diets- which leads to better health, better quality of life, and -perhaps- increased length of life.
Here are some things to consider when anticipating reducing your daily intake of sodium. The average level measuring teaspoon of table salt [sodium chloride] contains about 2,300mg. of sodium. The average teaspoon of sea salt contains 1,900mg. of sodium. The average teaspoon of kosher salt contains 1,100mg. of sodium. Since sodium is the mineral we want to reduce, a first step could be selecting the type of salt that offers the least amount of sodium.
I do not recommend salt substitutes that contain a combination of sodium and potassium. These can leave a bitter aftertaste, and some people should not use potassium liberally. However, I do recommend flavorful products to use as replacements for table salt, that contain much less sodium per serving than any table salt option. Of course, seasonings like herbs and spices, work wonders as natural flavoring ingredients.
The following are some of my tips…. Reduced sodium soy sauce has approximately 200mg. of sodium per teaspoon, and offers a depth of flavor to dishes that table salt cannot match. Finely grated Romano cheese contains about 30mg. of sodium per teaspoon, and is delicious sprinkled on a variety of foods- including savory oatmeal. Molly McButter [in the seasoning section of food stores] contains buttermilk solids, lends a buttery/salty flavor to many dishes, and has about 180mg. of sodium per teaspoon. Finally, a good stone-ground mustard contains about 85mg. of sodium per teaspoon, and offers a wonderful tangy/salty flavor to many foods. If you use a measuring tablespoon of any of these products, just multiply the numbers of milligrams by three. There are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.
My goal for myself and my clients is that we think creatively, and never feel deprived as we improve our health.
Dateline: Latham, Albany County, New York State