Low Sodium Diet Food List
Sodium is a vital mineral with numerous crucial functions in the human body. It occurs naturally in foods such as eggs and veggies and is the main constituent of table salt.
Although it’s crucial to well-being, dietary sodium is at times restricted under certain instances.
For instance, a low-sodium regimen is usually recommended to persons with specific medical conditions such as blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease.
In this review, we will look at why a low-sodium diet is crucial for some people, foods you can and can’t eat, the benefits of the diet, and some tips for this regimen.
What is a Low Sodium Meal Plan?
Sodium is a vital mineral part of numerous crucial bodily functions such as blood pressure preservation, cellular function, electrolyte balance, and fluid regulation.
Since sodium is vital to life, your kidneys strictly limit its levels based on the osmolarity (concentration) of bodily fluids.
What’s more, sodium is present in most foods you take, although foods such as fruits, veggies, and poultry have significantly lower amounts.
Plant-based foods such as fresh produce typically have less sodium as opposed to animal-based foods such as dairy products and meats.
However, sodium is most present in packaged and processed food such as bacon, crisps, and frozen dinners since it’s used as a preservative.
Another key contributor to sodium levels in the body is adding salt when preparing meals or as a seasoning just before munching.
A low-sodium diet restricts the intake of high-sodium foods. Well-being experts recommend this diet for people with blood pressure or heart disease.
Although there are deviations, sodium intake should overall be kept to less than 2000-3000 mg per day. For reference, one teaspoon of salt comprised 2300mg of sodium, give or take.
When sticking to a low-sodium diet, foods typically high in sodium must be restricted or avoided entirely to maintain sodium intake under the prescribed levels.
Milk, yogurt as well as many other dairy products naturally have low sodium levels. But when it comes to butter or cheese, look for that written low-salt or unsalted.
In addition to supporting a healthy stomach, studies show that yogurt can lessen the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Plain yogurt naturally has low sodium levels, but flavored varieties can at times have salt or sugar included, so ensure you check the nutritional label.
Buy plain yogurt, and you can sweeten it with fruits. Greek yogurt comprises more protein and is great for heart health too.
Dry Beans and Peas
Beans, lentils, and peas are all good sources of plant-based fiber and protein, notably benefiting heart well-being.
In addition, they have low-fat levels and no cholesterol whatsoever. Cooking legumes are recommended because they practically have no sodium at all.
Canned legumes can be a handy alternative, but they are packed with high amounts of salt. Therefore pick for varieties indicating ‘low sodium’ on the label.
What’s more, you can drain the liquid inside the can or rinse them to decrease their sodium levels.
Most fruits have low sodium levels, and some have no sodium at all. For instance, apples, apricots, bananas, berries, grapefruit, and oranges are among fruits with no sodium at all.
Not only are fruits a low sodium source, but they also comprise fiber, minerals, powerful antioxidants, and vitamins that support heart health; fruits offer natural flavor and sweetness to virtually any dish without the need to add salt or sugar.
Buy fresh or frozen beef, chicken, fish, or pork, which you can prepare and season yourself. A couple of raw meats have sodium included as part of the packaging procedure.
If the meat has a nutritional label, pick the one with a sodium DV of 5% or less.
Herbs and Spices
A range of good quality herbs and spices makes all the difference while also helping you to significantly decrease the amount of salt and sugar in your recipes.
This is due to herbs and spices naturally giving dishes a ton of depth and flavor.
Try using fresh herbs you might not be used to, such as adding sage to food or mint in salads to get vibrant flavors.
Study your herbs and spices rack and come up with a meal based on spices you would not typically reach for.
Unsalted Seeds and Nuts
Nuts have a rewarding crunchy surface and plant-based proteins. In addition, new studies reveal that people who commonly eat nuts have a lower risk of heart disease.
Go for the raw nut and unsalted varieties if possible. If giving up salted nuts is daunting, try mixing salted and unsalted nuts to help you reduce your sodium intake.
Some super-nutritious nuts comprise omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health and are worth including in your mixed recipe.
Both fruits and veggies comprise vital nutrients that can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
A couple of naturally sodium-free veggies include asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger, green beans, and squash.
Studies indicate that boosting your veggie consumption, especially the leafy kind such as Broccoli and spinach can offer you the most notable heart well-being benefits.
How you prepare your meals matters as well, so try and air fry, roast, or steam your food as opposed to deep-frying; also, go easy on salt addition after preparing meals.
Some of the whole grains you can take on this diet include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, freekeh, millet, and quinoa.
Whole grains are dietary staples in most parts of the world, and they are becoming massively popular in Western countries. What’s more, they tend to be processed less compared to other common grains.
You’ll find that most whole grains have little or no sodium content, making them a great pick for a low-sodium regimen.
However, the issue again lies with how you prepare your food; try and prepare them with plain water and a bit of salt.
When it comes to marinades and pre-done seasonings, sodium levels can be high, so it’s best to make your own if possible.
However, a couple of seasonings have blends and marinades free from salt, making them ideal staples for your heart-friendly pantry.
Sodium Foods to Avoid
The following foods have high sodium levels and should be avoided by people on a low-sodium regimen. They include:
- Baking Mixes: High sodium cake, waffle, pancake, or pizza dough mixes.
- Boxed meals: Mac and cheese, pasta, rice meals, etc.
- Canned and salted products: Beans, fish, fruits, meats, pasta, veggies, etc.
- Cheese and dairy products: buttermilk, cheese sauce, cheese spreads, cheddar, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, salted butter, etc.
- Condiments and sauces: Commercial tomato paste, gravy, salad and salsa dressing, etc.
- Fast foods: Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, etc.
- Frozen dinners: Frozen meats, frozen samosas, frozen pizza, etc.
- High sodium baked products: Croutons, salted bagels, salted rolls, etc.
- High-sodium sides: boxed au gratin potatoes, hash browns, rice, stuffing, etc.
- Pickled veggies: Pickles, olives, sauerkraut, etc.
- Processed meats: Bacon, brawn, ham, lunch meats, salami, sausages, smokies, etc.
- Salty snacks: Salted cakes, salted crackers, salted crisps, salted nuts, salted pretzels, etc.
- Salty soups: All canned and packaged soups.
- Seasoning: salt and salt blends.
Although some foods such as veggies and unprocessed meats naturally have little amounts of sodium, it’s irrelevant compared to the amount of sodium you’ll find in commercially prepared products.
As a result, the best way to stay away from high-sodium foods is not to eat fast foods or buy snack foods and packaged dinners.
Tips for a Low-Sodium Meal Plan
If you’re sticking to a low-sodium regimen preparing ideal meals and seasoning them can be pretty challenging.
However, there are a couple of easy ways to make your meals flavorful while restricting salt intake.
Here are a couple of tips for preparing food on a low-sodium diet:
- Use lemon extract instead of salt.
- Prepare your meals using fresh herbs instead of salt.
- Try using new spices in your meals.
- Use citrusy juices and olive oil for bright and zesty salad dressings.
- Eat unsalted nuts garnished with various herbs.
- Try and have fresh produce in your meals and snacks.
- Try preparing hummus using dried chickpeas and add garlic and some herbs.
- Make low-sodium marinades using products such as garlic, ginger, honey, olive oil, etc.
Advantages of a Low Sodium Diet
Can Help Boost Overall Diet Quality
Most unhealthy foods have very high levels of sodium. In addition, fast foods and packaged products are not only filled with salt but also tend to have unhealthy calories and fats.
Frequent intake of these foods has been connected to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.
When you’re on a low-sodium diet, these high-sodium foods are off-limits; as a result, your overall diet quality may improve.
Can Decrease Blood Pressure
As illustrated above, a low-sodium diet can help reduce blood pressure. Research has proven that shifting to a low-sodium diet can cause small yet important shifts in blood pressure, particularly for individuals with high levels.
A review of some studies indicated that a small reduction in salt consumption for a month or more led to considerable declines in blood pressure levels in individuals with both high and average levels.
In participants with HBP (high blood pressure), the average drop in diastolic and systolic blood pressure was 2.8mmHg and 5.40mmHg, respectively.
In contrast, individuals with typical levels experienced a 2.42mmHG decline in systolic blood pressure (the uppermost number of a reading) and 1mmHg in diastolic blood pressure (the lowermost number or a reading).
Can Help Reduce Cancer Risk
High-salt diets have been allied to specific kinds of cancer, including that of the gut. An examination of some studies comprising of more than six million people found that each 5-gram increase of salt per day from processed foods increased cancer risk by 12%.
Studies have revealed that high-sodium regimens can injure the mucosal lining of the gut and enhance the growth of HP (helicobacter pylori) bacteria and inflammation, all of which can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
On the other hand, a regimen that lacks high-sodium processed foods and comprises lots of fruits and veggies is linked to a lower risk of contracting stomach cancer.
Potential Risks Associated with a Low-Sodium Diet
Big health organizations such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) prescribe that adults don’t take more than 2300mg of sodium per day.
In addition, Higher-risk groups such as African-Americans and older people shouldn’t exceed 1,500mg of salt per day.
A low-sodium diet can lessen blood pressure in persons with elevated levels, and high-sodium regimens advance the risk of contracting stomach cancer.
However, evidence of other advantages of reducing this vital mineral is confusing.
For instance, although low-sodium diets are regularly used to correct heart failure, some studies show that restricting sodium intake can hurt overall well-being.
One study comprising over 800 people shows that limiting sodium intake to less than 2500mg per day was linked to a considerably higher risk of hospitalization or death.
In addition, it’s noted that a low sodium intake can negatively affect heart health.
A review of some studies reveals that both high and low salt consumption was linked to more risk of heart disease and mortality instances.
What’s more, low salt intake has been connected to a couple of other unpleasant health effects.
Low-sodium intake can cause increased cholesterol and triglycerides, hyponatremia (very low sodium in the bloodstream), and insulin resistance.
While avoiding high amounts of sodium is good for your overall well-being, it’s an unnecessary thing to do for most healthy people, especially when they’re following a balanced diet comprising of whole foods.
As you can see, low-sodium foods can alleviate blood pressure and kidney disease symptoms as well as overall diet quality.
They can also decrease the risk of contracting stomach cancer; however, too little sodium can have negative impacts. It’s for this reason that the low-sodium diet is recommended for only a select group of people.
Printable Low Sodium Diet Food List (PDF)
|Low Sodium Diet Food List||Sodium Foods to Avoid|
|Low-Sodium Foods||Baking Mixes: High sodium cake, waffle, pancake, or pizza dough mixes.|
|Dairy Products: Milk and plain yogurt||Boxed meals: Mac and cheese, pasta, rice meals, etc.|
|Dry Beans and Peas: All beans, lentils, and peas||Canned and salted products: Beans, fish, fruits, meats, pasta, veggies, etc.|
|Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, grapefruit, and oranges||Cheese and dairy products: buttermilk, cheese sauce, cheese spreads, cheddar, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, salted butter, etc.|
|Meats: Fresh or frozen beef, chicken, fish, or pork||Condiments and sauces: Commercial tomato paste, gravy, salad and salsa dressing, etc.|
|Herbs and Spices: cummin, oregano, thyme, turmeric, etc.||Fast foods: Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, etc.|
|Unsalted Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia and ground nuts||Frozen dinners: Frozen meats, frozen samosas, frozen pizza, etc.|
|Vegetables: Asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger, green beans, and squash.||High sodium baked products: Croutons, salted bagels, salted rolls, etc.|
|Whole Grains: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, freekeh, millet, and quinoa||High-sodium sides: boxed au gratin potatoes, hash browns, rice, stuffing, etc.|
|Pickled veggies: Pickles, olives, sauerkraut, etc.|
|Processed meats: Bacon, brawn, ham, lunch meats, salami, sausages, smokies, etc.|
|Salty snacks: Salted cakes, salted crackers, salted crisps, salted nuts, salted pretzels, etc.|
|Salty soups: All canned and packaged soups.|
|Seasoning: salt and salt blends.|