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Healthy Habits: Cut Back on Salt

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Additional Reasons
High sodium intake has also been found to interfere with the body's ability to remove fats from the bloodstream. It also is involved in kidney problems, water retention, cardiovascular disease, and possibly stomach cancer and migraine headaches.11 Tips on Cutting Back

1.Cut back on food with visible salt – potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, popcorn, crackers, shoestring potatoes, etc.

2. Cut back on meat and dairy products. Besides being naturally high in sodium, salt is added to many processed-meat and dairy products. These include cheese, butter, and processed meats.

3. Cut back on preserved or fermented foods – pickles, sauerkraut, olives, soy sauce, etc.

4. Eliminate canned foods, and replace with fresh or frozen. "Nearly 2/3's of the salt in the American diet is consumed in processed foods."12 For instance:

  • 3 1/2 ounces of fresh peas = 2 milligrams of sodium, while same amount of canned peas = 236 milligrams
  • Six fresh spears of asparagus = 4 milligrams of sodium, while same amount of canned asparagus = 410 milligrams
5. Read labels. If you must buy processed foods, be sure to choose "low sodium" or "salt free." You'll be surprised at where you'll find hidden sources of sodium.13
  • One ounce of Kellogg's Corn Flakes has nearly twice the amount of sodium as one ounce of Planters Cocktail Peanuts, 260 milligrams versus 132.
  • Two slices of Pepperidge Farm White Bread have more sodium than a one-ounce bag of Lay's Potato Chips, 234 milligrams versus 191.
  • 1/2 cup of prepared Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding and Pie Filling has more sodium than three slices of Oscar Mayer Sugar-cured Bacon, 404 milligrams versus 302.
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has as much sodium as thirty-two potato chips.
6. Cut back on soft drinks. Carbonated drinks contain bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate).

Buy a juicer and make your own fruit and vegetable juices, or drink purified water. According to Dr. Gordon Tessler, there's too much sodium in regular tap water to make it a healthy alternative.14

7. Use salt alternatives. The following are some generally accepted products used as salt alternatives:

  • Quick Sip – a substitute for soy sauce
  • Vegetable Broth Seasoning – a saltlike powder seasoning
  • Vegit – an herb-based powder seasoning
  • Spike (the salt-free variety) – a mixture of a variety of vegetables and herbs
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos – a concoction of amino acids made from soybeans that render a salty taste

8. Develop a taste for other spices. Empty your salt shakers and fill them with other flavorings. There are a host of herbs and spices that are available to add zest and interest to your foods. Experiment with different ones to find your favorites. Try allspice, basil, cayenne, chili powder, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger root, lemon juice, lime juice, thyme, turmeric, and many, many others.

1. Patrick Quillin, Healing Nutrients (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987), page 96.
2. Robert A. Gleser,
The HealthMark Program for Life (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), page 113.
3. Jane Brody,
Jane Brody's Nutrition Book (New York: Bantam Books, 1981), page 203.
4. Brody, page 199.
5. Julian M. Whitaker and June Roth,
Reversing Health Risks (New York: Putnam, 1988), page 84.
6. John A. McDougall,
McDougall's Medicine: A Challenging Second Opinion (Piscataway, NJ: New Century Publishers, 1985), page 174.
7. McDougall, page 171.
8. Brody, page 207.
9. Neal D. Barnard,
The Power of Your Plate (Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1990), page 25.
10. Gordon S. Tessler,
Lazy Person's Guide to Better Nutrition (San Diego, CA: Better Health Publishers, 1984), page 79.
11. Annemarie Colbin,
Food and Healing (New York: Ballantine Books, 1986), page 186.
12. Brody, page 204.
13. Brody, page 207.
B11 14. Tessler, page 79.


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From HEALTHY HABITS: 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health by David J. Frahm as used by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2003 by David and Anne Frahm. All rights reserved.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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