One of the most beneficial things a person, with hypertension, can do to help manage it is to eat a low sodium diet. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. That's less than a teaspoonful per day. The following are popular foods that are high in sodium:
- CANNED MEATS AND VEGGIES
- FROZEN DINNERS
- SNACK FOODS SUCH AS PICKLES, POTATO CHIPS, PRETZELS, ETC
- KETCHUP AND TOMATO PRODUCTS
- INSTANT POTATOES OR RICE
- CURED OR SMOKED MEATS
- DELI MEATS AND CHEESES
- Choose packaged and prepared foods carefully. Compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium (per serving) you can find.
- Choose condiments carefully. For example, soy sauce, bottled salad dressings, dips, ketchup, jarred salsas, capers, mustard, pickles, olives and relish can be high in sodium.
- Look for products with the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark to find foods that can be part of an overall healthy dietary pattern. Heart-Check is not a low-sodium program and the Heart-Check mark is not necessarily a sign that a product is “low-sodium”, but it does mean that the food meets AHA’s sodium criteria to have the Heart-Check mark.
When preparing food: (sodiumbreakup.heart.org)
- Use onions, garlic, herbs, spices, citrus juices and vinegars in place of some or all of the salt to add flavor to foods.
- Drain and rinse canned beans (like chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.) and vegetables – this can cut the sodium by up to 40 percent.
- Combine lower-sodium versions of food with regular versions. If you don’t like the taste of lower-sodium foods right now, try combining them in equal parts with a regular version of the same food. You’ll get less salt and probably won’t notice much difference in taste. This works especially well for broths, soups, and tomato-based pasta sauces.
- Cook pasta, rice, and hot cereal without salt. You’re likely going to add other flavorful ingredients to these foods, so you won’t miss the salt.
- Cook by grilling, braising, roasting, searing, and sautéing to bring out the natural flavors in foods – that will reduce the need to add salt.