As a nation, we are completely over-salted: By some estimates, the average American consumes five tablespoons of salt each day. Experts say we need roughly ¼ teaspoon (which has 570 mg of sodium) to support essential body functions.

The good news, salt lovers, is that most adults can safely consume 2300 mg of sodium (about 1 tsp of salt) daily. Your doctor may want to re-evaluate that recommendation for you, however, and cap your intake at 1,500 mg – especially if you’re older than 51, African American, or have a health condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Enter the low-sodium diet. Here are some general guidelines for it.


  • Processed, packaged foods, including most frozen meals. (If you insist on frozen meals for convenience, look for ones with fewer than 600mg sodium.)
  • Store-bought salad dressing. Make this creamy oregano-feta dressing or zesty honey-lemon dressing instead – and feel free to use even less salt than the recipe calls for.
  • Smoked or cured meat, poultry or fish, including bacon and deli meats
  • Salted nuts and canned beans (especially if you don’t rinse ‘em)
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Any beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish you buy
  • Eggs
  • Frozen or dried peas/beans (or low-sodium canned varieties, rinsed)
  • Skip the salt shaker
  • Add tart flavor flavor with orange, lemon, lime, pineapple juice or vinegar
  • Season with fresh herbs or even fried herbs, like these crispy fried sage leaves
  • Avoid garlic salt, onion salt, MSG, meat tenderizers
  • Avoid most store-bought sauces and condiments. You won’t miss the sodium with this tangy coffee barbecue sauce

Author: Hope Cristol, MyRecipes

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