Many adults consume too much sodium in their diets. Whether one uses table salt or sea salt, they both have the same nutritional value and contain comparable amounts of sodium. Salt is typically used in cooking to flavor foods and as a preservative. The American Heart Association recommends that sodium intake for all adults be limited to 2,300 mg. of sodium per day, or approximately 1 teaspoon of salt.
Health Benefits of Low Sodium Diets
Some health conditions are improved by reducing sodium intake. The following health benefits are associated with reducing sodium in the diet:
· Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
· Lower blood pressure
· Decreased risk of stroke
· Reduced risk of gastric (stomach) cancer
· Decreased risk of obesity
· Reduced risk of developing kidney stones
Foods Lower in Sodium
The following lower sodium foods should be included in a healthy diet:
· Fresh fruits and vegetables
· Unsalted nuts, seeds, and peanuts
· Brown rice and whole grains
· Fresh fish
· Dried beans and lentils
· Herbs and spices
It’s important to read nutritional labels on food products. Check to see how much sodium is in a single serving.
Hidden Sources of Sodium in the Diet
Cooking with less salt and not salting foods at the table are good ways to reduce sodium intake. However, there are many processed foods that also contain high amounts of sodium. It’s important to recognize these hidden sources of sodium in the foods we may consume. These foods should be limited due to the amount of salt they contain or their lower sodium versions should be chosen.
· Processed meats including lunch meats and hot dogs
· Frozen meals
· Canned soups
· Canned vegetables
· Condiments, sauces, and salad dressings
· Snacks such as crackers, pretzels, and popcorn
· Fast foods
Take Aways for Seniors
As seniors age, it may become more difficult for some to manage healthy meal planning, grocery shopping, and daily cooking. For some seniors, making wise food choices is essential. At Renaissance Villages, nutritious and delicious meals are prepared by our chefs and served three times a day in our restaurant-style dining room. Nutritious snacks and hydration are also provided daily. Our staff is able to meet the nutritional and dietary needs of our residents, and residents have opportunities to provide input on the menus.