Salt Reduction: Low-Sodium Diet for Preventing Hypertension- By Edterchelle Soriano
Only a minimal quantity of sodium occurs naturally in the foods. Most sodium is added to the processed foods through processing. To help everyone reduce their sodium intake, we will provide the following recommendations for their perusal:
Reading the labels of the goods
- Read the labels of the purchased goods for sodium content;
- Use food products with no added salt or lesser sodium content; and
- Be sensible enough to know that broth, foods, and soy sauce that are cured or pickled have higher contents of sodium.
If you are preparing or cooking foods
- Instead of using salts for cooking, choose alternative condiments with low content of sodium. These include lime, spices, herbs, vinegar, cooking wines, and lemon to improve the flavor of the foods;
- Avoid using salt when cooking rice or pasta;
- Make sure to rinse the canned foods such as tuna. This will help remove some sodium from it; and
- Avoid using of condiments like teriyaki sauce and soy sauce. Restrict yourself from using *Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or use other version with lower sodium content.
If you are eating foods
- It is advisable to eat fresh poultry, lean meat, and fish instead of canned, processes, and smoke versions (which usually may contain too much concentration of sodium);
- If possible, eat fresh foods instead of convenience or canned foods;
- Control yourself from eating cured foods (such as ham and bacon), foods which are packed in brine (olives, sauerkraut, and pickles) and condiments (like ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and mustard); and
- When eating out, ask the waiter or chef on how the food is being prepared. Make a special request by limiting the *MSG or salt in the ordered food.
We also need to have basic understandings with regards to the salt terms (sodium contents). Manufacturers of food use various terminologies to indicate that the produced products have lower content of sodium. The illustration below will indicate the interpretations of the common terms used by the manufacturers.
- If the label shows “salt-free or sodium-free” it means that the food contains 5 mg or lesser amount of sodium per serving.
- If the label shows “very low sodium” it means that the food contains 35 mg or lesser amount of sodium (not lesser than 5 mg) per serving.
- If the label shows “low sodium” it means that the food contains 140 mg or lesser amount of sodium (not lesser than 35 mg) per serving.
- If the label shows “less or reduced sodium” it means that the food has at least 25% amount than any regular version (some of the items like soy sauce or canned foods may still have significant quantity of sodium).
- If the label shows “light in sodium” it means that the food has at least 50% less sodium compare to other regular version.
- If the label shows “low sodium meal” it means that the food has 140 mg or lesser amount of sodium per 100 mg of servings.
- If the label shows “no salt added or unsalted” it means that the food has no salt added during the processing method. However, it does not fully guarantee everyone that the food is completely sodium-free.
These interpretations of sodium contents in the food label made by the manufacturers were adapted from the National Institute of health, National Blood, Heart and Lung Institute – By Edterchelle Soriano