5 Tips for Low-sodium Cooking

Instead of using canned ingredients for soups, how about going with real ingredients to cut down on sodium? See more healthy soups and sandwiches pictures.
©iStockphoto.com/Lauri Patterson

In the scope of things, you could say we're blessed with the problem of too much sodium in our diets. That may sound odd, but consider that too much sodium is a much easier problem to fix than too little sodium, which is what more people have struggled with throughout most of history.

Sodium is an essential nutrient in our bodies for maintaining water balance in our cells (in addition to other functions). A healthy amount is about 500 milligrams of sodium per day, but no more than 2,400 milligrams. Unfortunately, research has found that too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and heart failure.

Salt, or sodium chloride, is about 40 percent sodium and has been useful as an effective food preservative. That's partly why most processed foods sold in supermarkets and fast food joints are chock-full of sodium. Americans get 75 percent of their sodium from processed foods, according to the American Heart Association.

So, if you're feeling down because the doctor just told you to cut down on your salt intake, look on the bright side. The good news is that you can replace salt with a plethora of available spices and flavors. And, what's more, you'll soon reduce your taste for salt with a healthy low-sodium regimen.