• By Clancy Harrison
  • In 2017
  • February 7, 2017

Tips to Limit Salt intake for Heart Health

by Raquel Redmond, RD, LDN

It’s American Heart Month! Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. There are a few simple ways to help prevent heart disease. Diet plays a huge role in preventing heart disease.

A heart healthy diet revolves around sticking to low sodium options and generally less fat, but not eliminating healthy fats. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to 2,300 mg per day. If you have heart disease this recommendation falls to 1,500 mg per day. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium – this is your limit!

There are four major categories of foods that are known for being high in sodium. Cut back on these and you’re well on your way to limiting sodium.

  • Salty snacks like chips, pretzels and other snack foods. Limit these and try snacking on unsalted nuts or crunchy chickpeas instead.
  • Processed meats like deli meats and breakfast meats. The occasional bacon with breakfast won’t hurt, but in general avoid these meats. Low sodium deli meats are generally available so ask for it at your local grocer. Try grilled chicken for lunch and eggs in the morning instead for protein.
  • Convenience meals like canned soups and frozen dinners. Although canned soup may say “low sodium” be sure to read the label and make homemade soup if possible! You can control how much salt you add to a homemade recipe.
  • Condiments like ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, hot sauce and cheese. Try to use condiments as little as possible. While it’s tempting to use them in excess be aware that you could be adding up to 200 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon! A little goes a long way when it comes to cheese and condiments.

If you choose to eat the foods listed above try keep it to a minimum and keep your portion sizes in check. Look for low sodium (less than 300 mg per serving) options whenever possible.

My number one tip to limit sodium is to eat fresh foods! Fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins are naturally low in sodium. When cooking fresh foods you can add flavor by using pepper, herbs, spices, citrus, garlic or onions. And always remember to check the nutrition facts label! Sodium can be found under cholesterol.

Raquel Redmond, RD, LDN is an acute care clinical dietitian in West Philadelphia. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2014, she completed her dietetic internship in Philadelphia. In her spare time she enjoys working on her personal blog Sincerely Nourished, teaching group fitness classes and exploring Philadelphia. Find her on Facebook,  Twitter, & Instagram.