Salt seems to be hidden in all types of foods. People with diabetes should be aware of their salt intake to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, and kidney disease. Discover 5 easy ways to reduce salt in your diet without compromising on flavor.

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Salt

Get Fresh

Fresh, whole foods contain less salt than packaged ones. Cook from scratch rather than preparing pre-packaged meals. Fresh meats, such as lean chicken, beef, and pork, have less salt than processed ones. Try to avoid packaged and processed meats, such as bacon, salami and hot dogs. Select fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose to buy frozen vegetables that say “fresh” frozen with no added sauces or seasonings. Try to eat low-sodium canned goods especially soups and beans. Rinse off canned vegetables before eating them to get rid of any added salt. Buy the majority of your food from the center and outer aisles of the grocery store, where the freshest options are found.

Read Labels

Americans tend to consume up to 50 percent more salt than they should. Get to know the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Most people should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams daily. Those who are diabetic, over the age of 50, have hypertension or kidney disease, or are African-American, should reduce salt intake to 1,500 milligrams each day. Carefully read the labels on packaged foods to avoid all forms of sodium. Try to select low-sodium, reduced sodium or sodium-free options. Be aware of surprising foods that can be high in sodium, such as cottage cheese and whole grain bread.

Reduce Salt at Restaurants – Speak up!

Dining out can be a challenge when you are trying to reduce salt in your diet. Speak up when you dine out. Inquire about foods that are prepared without added salt so you can order the healthiest options. Some menus include nutritional information. Certain chain and fast food restaurants post nutritional information on their websites so you can plan ahead to make the best selections. Ask if your food can be specially prepared with no added salt. Choose restaurants that are willing to accommodate a reduced salt diet. Sauces and dressings can be a major source of added salt. Bring your own low-salt products or ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much you use.

Discover Tasty Herbs

Reducing salt in your diet doesn’t mean you have to eat bland foods. Discover tasty herbs and spices that can add bold flavor to your favorite dishes. Cinnamon adds a sweet and savory touch to fruits and beverages; studies have shown it may help lower blood sugar. Certain flavorful spices have anti-inflammatory properties, such as oregano, marjoram, garlic, rosemary, mint, and sage. Add them to soups, stews, sauces, and meats for plenty of flavor without adding salt. Replace the salt shaker at your dining table with Italian seasoning and pepper to avoid temptation and add a delicious taste to your favorite dishes. Make sure your mixed spices do not contain salt. Some spice blends do not mention salt until you read the ingredients in small print.

Check Out the DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet is a simple eating plan to help reduce your blood pressure. This eating plan is low in sodium, saturated and total fats, and cholesterol. The DASH diet includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy, fiber, and foods with potassium. Besides removing added sodium to your diet, remember to make other positive lifestyle changes for the best possible health outcomes. Exercise for a total of thirty minutes each day and get seven to eight hours sleep each night. This helps you maintain a healthier weight, have more energy, and minimize the risk of hypertension and other health complications. Use an automatic blood pressure monitor to gauge your overall progress.

It can take up to eight weeks to get used to eating foods with less salt, so have patience and learn how to use herbs for flavor. Soon you will find certain foods taste too salty and you will naturally avoid them. This is a major benefit that can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and boost your overall energy!

ADW Diabetes

ADW Diabetes is a diabetic supply mail order company that is dedicated to keeping diabetes management affordable. ADW takes a leading role in offering free diabetic education through Destination Diabetes, an informational component of the ADW website featuring tips and advice from diabetes and nutrition experts, diabetic recipes and more.