American Heart Month Tip: Reducing Sodium

February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based network dedicated to improving the nation’s health, we are giving you the following tips from the USDA to help families in our community reduce the amount of sodium in their diet.  

  1. Fresh is Best: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; as well as ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli, and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.


  1. Home Cooking: When you cook at home, you are able to take control over what goes into your food and how much of it. Preparing your own foods allow you to limit the amount of salt in them.


  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Do you remember that plate chart as a kid? The one that told you how much of each food group to eat? Some things never change, eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal. Frozen or fresh, your body will thank you.


  1. Adjust your taste buds:  Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.


  1. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.