Low Sodium Lifestyle FAQs
Q: What are the common sources of sodium in my diet?
A: Sodium is a chemical element found abundant in nature. Table salt is sodium chloride and contains 40% sodium by weight. When you buy prepared and packaged foods, make sure to read the labels and to watch for the words “soda” (referring to sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda), “sodium” and the symbol “Na”. These products contain sodium compounds.
Be aware of both natural and added sodium content in the foods that you eat. The Nutrient Facts Labels found on food products will list the total sodium content of the item per serving. Pay attention to serving sizes as many salty snack foods have a very small serving size.
Some drugs contain high amounts of sodium. Carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter medicines. Read the ingredient list and warning statement to see if the product contains sodium. A statement of sodium content must be included on labels of antacids that have 5 mg or more per dosage unit (tablet, teaspoon, etc.). Some companies are now producing low sodium over-the-counter products. If you’re concerned, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the sodium content in a particular medicine is okay for you.
For your reference:
Q: How can I reduce the sodium in my diet?
- 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
- 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
- 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon baking soda= 1,000 mg sodium
A: Here are some great tips to help you to reduce sodium in your diet:
Q: Does sodium cause high blood pressure?
- Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items that are processed
without added salts
- Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils
- Limit the amount of salty snacks you eat such as chips and pretzels
- Avoid adding salt or canned vegetables to homemade dishes
- Avoid condiments and seasoning blends that can be high in salt
or check the labels to be sure of the sodium content
- Select unsalted, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups
- Select low sodium cheeses and spreads
- When dining out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt
- Use spices and herbs instead of salt to enhance the taste
of your food since these ingredients naturally contain
only very small amounts of sodium.
- Depend on DineWise Low Sodium Meal Plans which are designed
to take the worry out of eating low sodium every day.
A: Studies have not conclusively shown that sodium causes the condition of high blood pressure. However, studies have shown that for individuals who have salt sensitive hypertension, reducing their sodium intake can improve their blood pressure. As there is no evidence that restricting sodium intake is harmful to the general population (and may in fact be beneficial), health experts recommend that everyone try to limit sodium intake.
Q: What is a healthy body weight?
A: Doctors use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to find a patient’s ideal healthy body weight and to screen for obesity or low weight issues.
BMI = (weight (pounds)/height (inches)2) x 703
BMI = weight (kg)/height (m)2
Use this handy calculator
to calculate your own BMI.
What does it mean?
Q: What does “general healthy eating” mean?
- Underweight: Below 18.5
- Normal: 18.5 – 24.9
- Overweight: 25.0 – 29.9
- Obese: 30.0 and Above
A: The saying “you are what you eat” is literally true. Every cell in your body is created, renewed or activated by nutrient compounds that come from the foods you consume.
Healthy eating involves eating the right proportion of foods to provide all the essential nutrients needed to:
Q: What are “complex carbohydrates”?
- provide energy for daily activities
- ensure that your entire body functions properly
- prevent illness and maintain longevity
A: Complex carbohydrates are typically unrefined plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. A good way to evaluate the suitability of carbohydrate choices is to look at the amount of fiber noted on the nutrient facts label. Simple carbohydrates in foods such as refined breads and pastas, pastries, candies and soda have very little fiber per serving.
Here is a sample of complex carbohydrate foods on the DineWise Menu:
Q: What foods are good sources of lean protein?
- White and Wild Rice
- Green Beans Almondine
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Broccoli Florets
- Asparagus Spears
- Corn and Asparagus Medley
A: Fish, seafood, chicken breast, lean red meats and legumes are all examples of lean protein. Here are some options available in the DineWise Healthy Lifestyle Meal Plans that allow you to incorporate lean protein easily into your diet:
Q: What are unhealthy fats?
- Catfish Fillets
- Chicken Breasts
- Pork Loin
- Turkey Breast
A: When dietitians categorize fats as healthy or unhealthy, they look at how they perform in the body. Saturated and trans fats are more likely to be turned into artery clogging cholesterol than unsaturated fats. Food sources of healthier fats include many vegetable oils, whole grains, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. Food sources of unhealthier fats include full-fat dairy products, red meats and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats such as hard margarine.
Fat is still essential in any diet as a source of energy, essential fatty acids, vitamins and a general enjoyment of foods. Food sources that provide healthier fats include many vegetable oils, whole grains, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish.