Sodium is a naturally occurring substance in all cells. Salt is a mineral that is composed of sodium plus chloride (NaCl). A low sodium diet and a no added salt or salt-free diet are not exactly the same thing. Typically when looking for low-sodium items you need to look on the Nutrition Facts label for products that have 140mg of sodium or less per serving. Overall consuming less than 2300 mg/day of sodium (the same amount of sodium in 1 teaspoon of salt) should be a goal for most Americans.
A couple of reminders:
• The major culprit in added sodium is often foods eaten out rather than anything cooked/prepared at home.
• Rinsing canned vegetables in a colander will reduce the sodium amount by about 40%.
• Consider flavoring foods with garlic, lemon zest or lemon juice, pepper, fresh or dried herbs and salt-free seasoning mixes.
• Sneaky sources of sodium include: condiments, breads, bakery products and cereals.
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian