Shake off the salt
How much salt do you consume daily? If you have type 2 diabetes, it's important to watch the amount of salt you eat everyday. Diabetes can put you at increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular complications. Salt (sodium) makes your blood pressure higher. If you eat less salt, your blood pressure will go down.
What are some ways to cut your daily salt intake?
- Leave the salt shaker in the cupboard and off the table!
- Substitute spices for salt, such as: fresh herbs, garlic or garlic powder, lemon juice, and salt-free seasoning blends (Ex: Mrs. Dash-Salt free variety) are all examples of ways you can season your cooking without adding salt.
- Look for fresh or frozen foods instead of packaged
- Prepare fresh meals when you can. By doing this, you'll be in control of how much salt is used in the preparation of your foods.
- Avoid smoked meats and fish-Instead of using salty rubs or marinades, try using fruit juice for additional flavoring
These foods have a lot of salt and should be avoided or minimized:
- French fries
- Salty snacks: Pretzels, chips, pickles, etc
- Condiments: soy sauce, ketchup and mustard (look for low sodium versions and use sparingly)
- Fast food and restaurant meals
A lot of favorite foods tend to have “hidden” salt. These foods often come in a box, can or package:
- Canned soups, vegetables, meats and tomato juice
- Frozen dinners
- Cold cuts and deli meats
- Hot dogs and sausages
- Rice and noodle mixes
- Beware: Many food manufacturers add sodium to improve the flavor of foods.
- Helpful hint: Rinse canned foods with water to eliminate sodium used in packaging.
What to do when eating outside of the home?
- Skip the soups and chowders and opt for fresh salads (use the dressing sparingly) and baked, grilled, or broiled lean meats.
- Try to avoid dishes with sauces and gravies, or use them sparingly.
- Ask for your meal to be prepared with less or no salt.
- Avoid buffets where foods can't be prepared with less salt.
Teach yourself to look for food labels that have key words such as:
- Low sodium
- Reduced sodium
- Sodium free
- Low salt
- No added salt
- Note: At first, you may find it hard to eat food with little or no salt. But after a while you will adjust, and may even find yourself to be sensitive to salty foods
Recommended Sodium Intake: How much is too much?
The USDA recommends that the average person should eat no more than 2300 mg. of salt a day. This is equal to the size of a teaspoon. Did you know?...Most Americans get nearly twice that amount everyday. Sodium intake will vary based on the type of food. A rule of thumb:
- Side dishes, snacks, and desserts should contain less than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving
- Entrées should contain less than 800 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Low sodium snacks:
- Vegetables (carrots, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, etc)
- Dip them in hummus, low-fat yogurt, or low-fat salad dressing
- Unsalted nuts (watch the portion size! No more than a handful)
- Unbuttered popcorn
- Sugar free Jello with fruit
- Fresh or frozen fruit
Diabetes & salt don't go together
The combined risk for developing high blood pressure makes it well worth the effort to minimize salt intake. Note: Sea salt, celery salt & garlic salt are still considered salt products and WILL raise your blood pressure.
If you are experiencing or have experienced high blood pressure in the past, it is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Keep a log of your blood pressure readings so that you know if it's increasing. By doing this, you may be able to pinpoint certain foods that are contributing to your increase in blood pressure. Home blood pressure monitors are available for purchase, so that you don't have to keep going out to get your blood pressure checked.
Created By: Denise Cykiert, RD