Jenna: Cut the Sodium (Heart Healthy!)

A great way to protect your heart and prepare for a healthier holiday is by cutting down on the sodium. The average American eats between two and four times the recommended daily value of sodium. I predict that over the few years, salt will finally gain the negative attention that sugar did right before the Atkins craze. Anyway.

When I was first diagnosed with hypercalciuria my doctor recommended a diet that was low in sodium, as well as medication. I was very strict for a while (averaged about 1500 mgs a day) and saw great results. However, slowly over the last year, I’ve slacked off. I have started having problems again this week, and as I know many factors play into this, I am going to make an effort to get back on track. With the holidays coming up I know I’ll need to focus even more, but I want to make it a priority.  Here are some tips I use to follow, and want to start adapting back into my daily routine!

Make smart swaps.  Canned tuna typically contains 300 milligrams of sodium per 3-ounce serving, which doesn’t include mayonnaise. Substitute fresh grilled tuna steak and you’ll only be getting 40 milligrams of sodium. (source)

Swap out any shaker salt for salt-free seasonings. Mrs. Dash will change your life. Add cayenne pepper for an extra kick. CUMIN IS MY FAVORITE. You can add tons of flavor with no added salt.

Read labels.  Track how much you are eating. You’ll be surprised. Just today, I looked at Skinny Pop and Cinnamon and Sugar Pita Chips. The Skinny Pop popcorn only had 50 mgs of salt, when the pita chips had 170.

Make it yourself. Packaged, canned, and restaurant food is PACKED with salt. It preserves the food for longer, and makes it taste good after it has been frozen. If you are craving something specific, chances are you make it for less than 1/2 of the salt it will contain in any of those other places.

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