Sodium is an essential mineral that is necessary for many bodily functions, but too much sodium in the diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Unfortunately, sodium is often hidden in many of the foods we eat, making it difficult to know how much we are consuming. Here are some tips for avoiding hidden sodium and reducing your overall intake:
1. Read Labels:
Check food labels for sodium content and compare different brands to find lower sodium options. Choose food labels with “reduced sodium, low in sodium, very low in sodium and sodium free”.
2. Cook at Home:
Cooking meals at home allows you to control the amount of sodium in your food. Use original seasonings to flavour your dishes such as lime juice, galangal, lemongrass, spices and herbs instead of salt. Soak the dried ingredients such as anchovies, dried fish and dried shrimp before cooking to reduce sodium content.
3. Choose Fresh Foods:
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are naturally low in sodium. Choose fresh foods over processed or packaged foods whenever possible.
4. Be Cautious of Condiments:
Many condiments, such as ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressings, are high in sodium. Check labels and choose low sodium options or make your own condiments at home. Ask to separate gravy, sauce and salad dressings in dish when ordering.
5. Watch Out for Hidden Sodium:
Sodium can be hidden in foods that don't taste salty, such as bread, cereal, and canned soup. Look for low sodium or no salt added options. Choose white rice or brown rice instead of flavoured rice (e.g. tomato rice, chicken rice and biryani rice).
Reducing your sodium intake can improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. By following these tips and being mindful of hidden sources of sodium, you can improve your diet and feel better.