How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

Worried about how to manage sodium in your diet for a healthy heart? This guide will give you all the information you need to keep you away from excess sodium and take you towards a healthier lifestyle.

Your doctor may have advised you about lowering your sodium intake as eating too much salt is harmful. People have developed the habit of taking a high salt diet, which is not suitable for their heart health

The AHA recommends taking not more than 2,300 mg of salt per day. An older adult should use not more than 1,500 mg sodium a day. 

How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the average American takes in more than 3,400mg a day of salt. Increasing the salt more than your doctor recommends can increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke

Many restaurants offer meals high in salt, and some processed food is also dangerous for heart health as they are rich in sodium composition. Try adding foods such as veggies and fruits with less sodium to your diets to improve your blood pressure issues and heart health.

Learn how to use these foods to manage your sodium intake and avoid developing the risk of heart disease.

What Is a Heart-Healthy Sodium Intake?

The American Heart Association advises people to limit their sodium intake by 2,300 mg a day. 40% of common salt is sodium, and you should lower your sodium by using less salt or salt substitutes. 

You should reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 mg as it is ideal for improving your heart health. You need to understand how to read food labels and look for no salt added, or reduced-sodium, these products with these tags have low sodium.

What Foods Are Good for Maintaining the Correct Sodium Levels?

Beans and grains

Experts recommend adding beans, grains, and lentils to your regular diet. They are all low in sodium and help maintain the ideal sodium level in your body. 

You can use grains like oats as they are very nutritious and help lower the bad cholesterol level of your body. Oats also help minimize the risk for type 2 diabetes. 

You should buy dried beans with low sodium; you can find canned beans with low sodium value at your local store. Make a diet plan, try starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal containing berries, nuts, and fruits. 

For lunch, use beans and rice. You can also add flavor to your lunch and dinner by adding some seasoning, including hot sauces, jalapeno extracts, pepper, onions, and lemon. You can also try more herbs such as rosemary, turmeric, paprika, garlic, or thyme. 

How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

Vegetables

You can use all kinds of vegetables, fresh or frozen; all are low in sodium. You can use many different veggies for your meal as they contain many other nutrients that help improve your overall health. 

However, avoid using canned vegetables as the food industry uses salt for preserving these canned foods. You can also make a salad for your meal and dress it up with balsamic vinegar and other nutritious food like low-sodium soybean and shelled edamame. 

Make fresh soups using vegetables instead of using canned soups. Add carrot, capsicum, tomatoes, and onions to your diet plan.

Fruits

If you want something other than spicy or salty, you can use fruits. The fruits are also naturally low in sodium value. You can use fruits such as apples, bananas, apricots, pears, and papayas. Fruits are an excellent source of potassium, good for heart health. 

However, if you eat the fruit more than the recommended amount it can also have a harmful effect on your blood sugar. Some people may have an allergy to some fruits. After consulting with your doctor, use these fruits as a substitute for your snack and breakfast. Try eating an apple instead of baked goods.

Yogurt

Experts say that yogurt is heart friendly as it is very low in sodium. You can buy yogurt and have it with your meals. Try using regular yogurt with an added flavor because the added flavor contains sugar. 

Yogurt also works well without food ingredients such as fruit. Try making new heart-healthy recipes using yogurt. It also has more benefits and less risk than sherbet, ice cream, and pie. Yogurt is friendly to the gut and heart.

Nuts

Choose nuts over salted nuts for snack options. Nuts have no sodium at all; you can eat them at any place as they are easier to carry. You can eat at your workplace while traveling by bus or on a picnic. Eating nuts takes more time as removing the shell takes longer; it helps people prevent overeating them.  

You can also use other snack options such as popcorn. Unsalted versions are low-sodium and don’t affect your health as they are light, and eating them is still healthy. Try preparing popcorn by adding a little olive oil to it yourself and eating them when you work at your desk or watch T.V.

How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

Potatoes

Doctors advise people to eat potatoes as they contain significant nutrients, potassium, and iron. Potatoes are also low in sodium. Potassium helps lower stroke risk and blood pressure. You can have baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. 

You can make many delicious dishes using potatoes without adding much salt. When baking a potato, try adding some low-sodium salt or other spice like cinnamon. You can also sprinkle it on your baked sweet potato.

What Are the Worst Foods for a Low Sodium Diet?

You should avoid some foods when trying to lower your sodium intake. Some foods include:

  • Canned soups as they contain a high concentration of salt 
  • Frozen dinners or snacks, fast foods, and packaged foods. They are also high in sodium.
  • Instant soups and canned sauces. They are packed with sodium.
  • Baked foods such as cookies and cake are prepared using baking soda containing sodium. 

Risk of High Sodium Intake

Consuming too much sodium can lift your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. People with hypertension should use low sodium in their meals. You can improve your heart health by adding potassium to your diet. Potassium helps decrease your blood pressure when you are experiencing high blood pressure.

Tips To Reduce Sodium in Your Diet

First, try reducing the salt in your food. 

  • Prepare rice, beans, pasta, and meats using dry and fresh ingredients. Avoid canned food products.
  • When you cook, use alternatives to replace the salt, you can also limit the amount of your sodium intake.
  • Avoid eating spicy food from the street and restaurants. You should also eat fewer mixes, sauces, instant preparing products, and other flavored products.
  • Eat more veggies, nuts, and fruits. 
  • When you shop groceries, look for packaged food with labels such as reduced sodium, low sodium, or no salt added.
  • Eat steamed, broiled, grilled, roasted, baked, or poached foods instead of fried foods.
How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

Alternative to Salt

You can use different kinds of spices and herbs to get the flavor of salt. Some seasoning includes:

  • Almond extract
  • Allspice
  • Caraway seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Cider vinegar
  • Chives
  • Ginger
  • Dill
  • Curry powder
  • Mustard
  • Paprika
  • Lemon juice
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace
  • Peppermint extract
  • Parsley
  • Onion powder
  • Rosemary
  • Pimiento
  • Turmeric
  • Thyme
  • Savory
  • Sage 

You can use these seasonings instead of salt in your cooking. 

Wrap Up

A heart-healthy diet is a key to a healthy life; you can achieve this diet by limiting your sodium intake to recommended milligrams. You can use alternative spices to salt to keep your meal exciting. 

How to Manage Sodium in your Diet for a Healthy Heart

With the help of tips and advice from this article, you can create a suitable heart-healthy diet. However, before starting your low sodium diet, ask your physicians whether these foods are safe for you.

We hope you liked the content and it helped increase your awareness about how harmful excess salt is for your body. Please share your tips and suggestions on cutting down salt in the diet in the comments below.

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