Should You Eat a Low-Sodium Diet?

spice blend

As a cardiothoracic surgeon, I know how heart disease can affect an individual and his or her loved ones. That’s why I’m a strong advocate when it comes to preventing disease in the first place. Prevention can be as simple as adopting healthier eating habits, illustrating how proper nutrition can make all the difference when it comes to your wellbeing.

Watch: How High Blood Pressure Kills

One of the most common and reversible health problems is excess sodium consumption. The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) reports that about “ninety percent of Americans consume too much sodium, increasing their risk of high blood pressure.” High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to blood vessel damage, heart attack, kidney problems, and stroke. In many cases, adopting a low-sodium diet, especially when you are hypertensive or at a higher risk for developing the condition, can help lower your blood pressure and potentially get you off medication if you’re already taking it. Your physician can help you determine your risk factors and further advise whether a low-sodium diet is safe and recommended for you.

Watch: Lower Your Salt Intake

Switching to a low-sodium diet isn’t as simple as passing on the salt at every meal. Sodium shouldn’t be confused with salt, which is specifically sodium chloride, and just one source of sodium, a mineral that’s necessary for normal bodily functions. There are a variety of surprising foods that contain salt and sodium but many healthy foods already contain sodium naturally, like beets, carrots, and corn. The current dietary guidelines suggest that adults stick to less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day but if you have a condition like diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or other risk factors, you may have to limit sodium even more.

Watch: How to Identify the Hidden Sodium in Your Diet

If you’re ready to cut back on sodium in your daily diet, get started with these breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes that are so naturally flavorful and satisfying, you won’t miss the extra salt. If you do miss the salt shaker, reach for fresh herbs or citrus juice to add zest to meals or make your own spice mix like this dukkah spice mix that’s delicious on salmon patties.

Read More: Healthy Eating Tips to Reduce Blood Pressure