Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Step Away From the Salt Shaker

As we’ve aged, many of us have heard the dreaded words from our physician, “Cut down on the salt.” or worse, “No salt for you.” The American Heart Association recommends less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. One-fourth teaspoon of salt has 575 mg of sodium!

If you are brave enough to check the labels of processed foods or enjoy the yummy taste of fast foods, you can understand what the doc has advised. One microwaved dinner or a trip to fast-food land and you can kiss your salt allowance goodbye for the rest of the day. With some restaurant meals, plan on water only for three days after because the sodium content is so high! (Nutrition information is available online for most chain restaurants. It will scare you.)

After the initial shock wears off from adding up your present daily sodium intake and you clean out the fridge and pantry to remove the temptation of popcorn, pickles, bacon, Ruffles and Cheez-Its. you may find yourself left with only healthy, but blaugh-tasting foods. If you get most of your meals from a drive-through window, you may also have to (brace yourself) cook.

Don’t despair. Help is on the way. Many of the restaurants are responding with “healthy’ choices. In some fast food places, on request you can even get unsalted fries. Oh, what’s with the face?

In time, your palate will adjust to less salty flavors. The compensation for diligence is that you can sneak in some ice cream with a big squirt of chocolate syrup now and then. (Hey, look, I’m only taking about sodium here.)

Food processors are responding to demands for low- and no-salt canned, bottled and packaged foods. No, that doesn’t mean you can still grab the package of sandwich meat and canned soups. It means if you search them out, there are low-sodium processed foods are out there. One exciting find for me lately has been Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup No Salt Added. If you haven’t had ketchup for five years and you find this in your grocery, try to not scream “Yippee,” jump up and down and hug the stock person. (I’ve been banned from the grocery until the meds kick in.)

A few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of starting a second blog for us sodium-sensitive folks, but a Google search turned up a zillion other sources of information. Now I’ve decided to just add a column of low- and no-salt food items to this blog. Your input is very welcome and I hope you will pass along your food finds.

We have released control of your salt shaker and returned you to an upright position. Go forth and shake not.
© Copyright 2009 Text and Photo SuzzwordsThe American Heart Association


  1. Great post Susan. I have long stopped adding any salt to my food and have been rigorously trying to eat foods with little or no salt in them so that my ankles don't balloon up like an elephant's....especially since I sit so long at this computer every day of my life. I have to remind myself to get up and move around and stretch...that's just as important I'm told. Thanks for the 'No Salt Zone' column...great idea sweetie. I'll be checking that out as we go along. Hugs, Joy

  2. Great post Susan... but at what stage of your life do you say... to hell with all that, I've lived a good life now I want to enjoy the TASTE of what I eat???? just askin'.

  3. Betty3:11 PM

    Hey, Suzz, I found some Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds with only 25 mg of sodium for a 1/4 cup serving. Tasty, too.

  4. I'm not giving up salt!!!!! I'm going to just keep on keeping on with my normal lousy diet. I'm losing weight. It's dreadful but I haven't much of an appetite as it is without cutting out food I like.

  5. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Add watermelon to your low salt list, and I guess most all fresh fruits too

    good luck