National Nutrition Month®: Reducing Sodium to ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’

March is National Nutrition Month®! This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” while still following a healthy eating pattern.

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National Nutrition Month Presentation at BYU Idaho. From left: Lynnette Meek, RDN and Amanda Christensen, MS, RDN

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the amount of added sugar, sodium and saturated fats that you eat. Limiting these components can help meet food group and nutrient needs within your recommend calorie limit for weight management [1].

Today we are going to take a closer look at reducing added sodium!

Where is Sodium Hidden?

Sodium isn’t only found in your table salt shaker or bag of potato chips. It is often found in most processed foods, restaurant meals, and already prepared foods because it is a inexpensive way to add flavor to foods. [2]. In fact, high amounts of sodium can be hidden in the below loved foods: 

  • Bread
  • Cold/cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Fresh and processed poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Pasta 

Even foods with low to moderate sodium content can add up in a day, if consumed in excess (breakfast cereals, low sodium soups and sauces, low-sodium nuts, etc.).

The Benefits of Reducing Sodium Intake 

The 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming <2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day for individuals ages 14 years and older  [1]. This tolerable upper intake level (UL) recommendation of sodium equals the amount of a teaspoon of salt

Studies have shown that decreasing sodium intake can significantly lower blood pressure, especially when combined with a fruit and vegetable-centered diet like the DASH Diet [3].

eatrightorgHypertension

Challenge 

Choose one tip to try this week to reduce YOUR sodium consumption [2]:  

  • Buy “Unsalted” or “No Salt Added” canned or boxed goods. This means that the products do not contain sodium. Other sodium food label terms can be found at “Decode the Sodium Label Lingo”
  • Rinse canned foods 
  • Remove the salt shaker from the table
  • Replace added salt at the dinner table with herbs and spices 
  • Substitute crackers and chips with a small handful of unsalted nuts 
  • Reduce your intake of cured foods, including cold cuts and sausages 

 

To find out more about how you can reduce your sodium consumption or about the DASH Diet, contact a Registered Dietitian in your area, the Idaho Nutrition Experts.

The Academy’s website (eatright.org) includes helpful articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers are also encouraged to follow National Nutrition Month® on the Academy’s social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using the #NationalNutritionMonth hashtag.

 

What do you do to reduce your sodium intake?

 

Rachelle Ausman, RDN, LD, CHC
Resources:
  1. “Key Recommendations: Components of Healthy Eating Patterns.”Health.gov. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2016<http%3A%2F%2Fhealth.gov%2Fdietaryguidelines%2F2015%2Fguidelines%2Fchapter-1%2Fkey-recommendations%2F>.
  2. “The Facts on Sodium and High Blood Pressure.” www.eatright.org. Jan. 2016. Web. 06 Mar. 2016.
  3. “Dietary Approaches to Prevent and Treat Hypertension.” Dietary Approaches to Prevent and Treat Hypertension. 04 Nov. 2005. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
  4. Image: “Cutting Back on Sodium – Easier Said Than Done – Food and Health with Timi Gustafson R.D.” Food and Health with Timi Gustafson RD. 2010. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
  5. Image: “Hypertension: Understanding a Silent Killer.” Www.eatright.org. 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
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