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Here is some information for your Low Sodium Diet or Salt Free Diet. Whether it seems you are being forced to lower your sodium or doing it by choice, hopefully, the information here will help you stick to a low sodium diet lifestyle.

The doctor says no salt...now what?

First take the salt shaker off the table.

Just by eliminating salt from the table and your cooking, these steps alone will help a lot in reducing the sodium in your diet.

One teaspoon of table salt is 2368 mg of sodium. Round that off to 2400 mg of sodium in just 1 teaspoon. So you can see that it is very easy to overdo the daily sodium allowance of about 2000 mg. That is just the sodium in salt, not counting the sodium in the other foods you are eating daily.  Your body only needs about 368 mg of sodium per day. Easily attainable without any added salt. If you can't have salt you can't have sea salt or Kosher salt. Sea salt has the same amount of sodium as regular salt (just a better balance of minerals which gives different tastes). Kosher salt may look lower sodium on the label but it is just a larger granule. Weight for weight it has the same sodium content as regular salt.

More tips to help you with your low sodium diet:

  • You cannot use high sodium products like most canned products (especially canned soups), prepackaged mixes (dips, hamburger helpers), processed meats (ham, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami). pickled or brined products. Generally, the more processed the food, the higher the sodium. Read the labels for sodium per serving.
  • It is usually better to look for products that say no salt added, than to purchase reduced sodium.  Reduced sodium is most of the  time still too high in sodium.
  • Do not use bouillion cubes, as a rule they are very high in sodium.
  • Most salad dressings are very high in sodium per serving. so learn how to make your own or use vinegar and oil, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Eliminate most frozen products, especially if they have a sauce or a gravy, (unless they say no salt added).
  • Most low fat products are double or triple in the amount of sodium per serving (just be aware).
  • Go easy with high sodium condiments, such as soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles and olives, barbecue sauce.
  • Use unsalted butter instead of salted saves additional sodium and tastes better.
  • Avoid MSG (monsodium glutamate), which is in most processed foods. The seasoning Accent is msg.
  • Water,  read your labels as many bottled waters have salt added. No water softeners. There are no salt water softeners
  • Salt and sugar can cover up many undesirable flavors. They are the first two ingredients on most seasoning labels.
  • Read your labels to avoid added salt and the words with the word sodium as part of it, and nitrates, nitrites, sulfates, and sulfites
  • Sea salt, kosher salt and other fancy or designer type salts have the same sodium per weight as regular table salt.  

Eating Out On A Low Sodium Diet:

  • Choose plain foods like grilled or roasted entrees, baked potatoes and salad with oil and vinegar. Batter-fried foods and combination dishes, like stews or pasta with sauce, most anything with a soup, sauce, gravy or salad dressing will tend to be high in sodium.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon or limes over food or salads. Even vinegars help give your food a lift without salt.
  • Ask to have no salt added when the food is prepared.
  • Take #103 Table Tasty with you to the restaurant.
Learning to cook salt free and low sodium means mostly cooking from scratch. Cook by using fresh, high quality ingredients. Eat and cook with more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try new varieties of fruits, vegetables and new high quality products. The fresher the better the flavor. Here is a link to help you find your local farmers market http://www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map.htm

Learn to use other flavors like fresh garlic, fresh herbs, wine, vinegars, juices, marinades, etc. to get additional flavor without salt. Always, have fresh lemons or limes available. Just a squeeze adds a nice brightness to your food to get away from bland. Your tongue has trouble deciding between salt and sour. You pucker up either way. Many salt free folks use a lot of black pepper, (freshly ground has a stronger flavor and aroma), also spicier flavors like chilies, salsas and cayenne. If you don't eat spicy now (it doesn't have to be hot), you may a little further down the road as your taste buds change.

When cooking, take more time to brown. Browning especially slowly, allows a rich dark brown, which adds a tremendous amount of flavor. Don't rush the food. Taking a little more time to cook and prepare your meal, will allow more flavor into the food.

Salt free, low sodium cooking is a very different way, a new way of cooking for most, but it's a good way of cooking. Getting back to basics, planning ahead, making extra for leftovers (most times leftovers have even better flavor). Many of my recipes you only need a 12-inch nonstick frypan. Investing in a crockpot and a pressure cooker are great methods for getting a lot of flavor. My brother Randy used to tease me about this. He would say "Dinner in 12 hours or 12 minutes".

I'm here to help. I love to cook and have cooked salt free most of my life.

It's not that I am so anti-salt. Salt has it's place. I am however, anti-salt in seasonings because the more seasoning you add, the more salt you are adding. You lose control over the amount of sodium in the dish. Usually, you have no clue. Sodium can add up quickly. Many who are forced to give up salt (Dr. says) find it very difficult to enjoy food. It takes time, on average (depending on how much you cheat) about 3 months for the taste buds to adjust to food without salt and if the food seasoned properly it can be enjoyed). Yes, enjoyed. Salt is just a habit and after a while without it or so much of it, you will start to taste the food and not just the salt. Then, foods you used to enjoy you might not enjoy so much because it just tastes like salt.

I know so many of you are here because of high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke or other illness. Some of you are here and following a low sodium diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. Some of you just like to cook and are looking for new recipes and seasonings. I'm glad you're all here.

Give Benson's Gourmet Seasonings a try, they will definitely will help your low sodium diet.

Sincerely,

Debbie Benson

What can I do to prevent heart disease and stroke?

You can do a lot to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Stick to a low sodium diet.

Keep your blood glucose under control. You can see if it is under control by having an A1C test at least twice a year. The A1C test tells you your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. The target for most people is below 7.

Keep your blood pressure under control. Have it checked at every doctor visit. The target for most people is below 130/80.

Keep your cholesterol under control. Have it checked at least once a year. The targets for most people are

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol: below 100
  • HDL (good) cholesterol: above 40 in men and above 50 in women
  • Triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood): below 150

Make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Check with your doctor to learn what activities are best for you. Take a half-hour walk every day. Or walk for 10 minutes after each meal. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the lot.

A lady walking a dog
Choose an activity you like and stay active.

How do narrowed blood vessels cause high blood pressure?

Narrowed blood vessels leave a smaller opening for blood to flow through. It is like turning on a garden hose and holding your thumb over the opening. The smaller opening makes the water shoot out with more pressure. In the same way, narrowed blood vessels lead to high blood pressure. Other factors, such as kidney problems and being overweight, also can lead to high blood pressure.

Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. If you have heart, eye, or kidney problems from diabetes, high blood pressure can make them worse.

High Pressure
Image of garden hose: A person partially covers the opening of the hose to increase pressure and cause the water to spray out.
Low Pressure
Image of a garden hose: The hose is not covered, so the pressure is low and the water pours out slowly.
A smaller opening makes the water pressure higher. In the same way, clogged blood vessels lead to high blood pressure.

You will see your blood pressure written with two numbers separated by a slash. For example, your reading might be 120/70, said as “120 over 70.” For people with diabetes, the target is to keep the first number below 130 and the second number below 80.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor how to lower it. Your doctor may ask you to take blood pressure medicine every day. Some types of blood pressure medicine can also help keep your kidneys healthy.

You may also be able to control your blood pressure by

  • eating more fruits and vegetables
  • eating less salt and high-sodium foods
  • losing weight if you need to
  • being physically active
  • not smoking
  • limiting alcoholic drinks

To lower blood pressure, get to a healthy weight.
To lower blood pressure, get to a healthy weight.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

A stroke happens when part of your brain is not getting enough blood and stops working. Depending on the part of the brain that is damaged, a stroke can cause

  • sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
  • sudden confusion, trouble talking, or trouble understanding
  • sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
  • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes or sudden double vision
  • sudden severe headache

Sometimes, one or more of these warning signs may happen and then disappear. You might be having a "mini-stroke," also called a TIA (transient ischemic [TRAN-see-unt is-KEE-mik] attack). If you have any of these warning signs, call 911 right away.

How can clogged blood vessels hurt my legs and feet?

Peripheral (puh-RIF-uh-rul) arterial (ar-TEER-ree-ul) disease, also called PAD, can happen when the openings in your blood vessels become narrow and your legs and feet don’t get enough blood. You may feel pain in your legs when you walk or exercise. Some people also have numbness or tingling in their feet or legs or have sores that heal slowly.

Image of human form with arteries outlined and feet and legs shaded.

What can I do to prevent or control peripheral arterial disease?

  • Don't smoke.
  • Keep blood glucose and blood pressure under control.
  • Keep blood fats close to normal.
  • Exercise

Disclaimer:  This information is not to diagnose or treat any condition.  Always ask your doctor.

Disclaimer:

This website is just giving you some helpful tips and information to start your salt free lifestyle. As we keep adding information to this website you will be able to have more knowledge, so you can be more proactive and be able to make better decisions for your health. If you have some information that would be helpful or find errors on this website, please email: Debbie@BensonsGourmetSeasonings.com Thank you.
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Debbie@BensonsGourmetSeasonings.com