No Sodium Diets
Somewhat of a misnomer, a “no-sodium” diet is more accurately called a “low-sodium” diet since the body requires some level of sodium intake to maintain fluid balance, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Low-sodium diets are used to treat a number of conditions, including hypertension (high blood pressure) and renal failure. Whether your physician has placed you on a low-sodium diet or you have done so in an proactive attempt to improve your health, there are a few considerations that you should know.
Low Sodium Diet
Consult with your supervising physician to determine what level of sodium intake is appropriate for your particular condition. If you are engaging in a low-sodium diet without your physician’s recommendation, a good starting point for your diet is to keep your daily intake of sodium under 2,500 mg. To put this into perspective, just 1 tsp. of salt contains roughly 2,300 mg of sodium, so staying under 2,500 mg per day will require some mental gymnastics if you are otherwise unfamiliar with controlling your sodium intake. To accomplish this, first and foremost, eliminate your use of all table salt, as this will do nothing but add unnecessary sodium to your diet. The second step to take in adhering to a low-sodium diet is to eliminate consumption of high sodium foods such as canned vegetables, frozen meals and processed meats. All of these foods generally have additional sodium added in as a preservative, so keep your consumption of these items to a bare minimum while following this diet. Instead of the aforementioned items, substitute in low-sodium alternatives such as fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and grains. Get in the habit of checking the food labels on everything you eat. When shopping, search for the lowest-sodium alternative for all of your favorite snack foods, such as pretzels and potato chips.
Keep a food journal while first following a low-sodium diet to help you stay under your daily sodium limit. In the journal, write down each food that you eat (no matter how minor) and list its sodium content immediately afterward, keeping a running tally to ensure that you do not exceed your sodium threshold. Although cumbersome, this recording method can help you to see exactly where you can cut the most sodium from your diet. After a few weeks of using this tool, you can “wing it,” but at first you should be meticulous to avoid making any inadvertent sodium blunders.