Have you been feeling more bloated than a sponge that has been soaking in a bucket of water for a week lately? Do you feel like the world is spinning when you stand up or when you change positions while you’re lying or sitting down? Have you noticed that you are sweating more than usual, even though it’s not hot outside, or you aren’t doing anything you would consider strenuous? If so, your sodium levels may be too high.
Sodium is an essential mineral. It’s produced by the body and it is also found in a lot of foods and food additives. It is important because it helps to balance fluid levels in the body, prevents dehydration, regulates blood pressure and helps to keep the muscles working properly. It’s also the nutrient that is used in the transmission of nerve impulses. However, while sodium plays an important role in your health, too much isn’t a good thing; in fact, it’s a bad thing.
High sodium levels can cause some serious health complications, including high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. It’s easy for sodium levels to reach dangerous levels. Why? – Because sodium is found in salt, which is an ingredient that is found in so many different types of foods. Not only do you sprinkle it onto your food and use it as an ingredient to add flavor to dishes. Even when you don’t add it to your food yourself, there’s still a good chance that you are consuming salt. That’s because it is often used as an additive in various types of food. It helps to retain moisture, enhance flavors of other ingredients, can mask off-putting flavors, and is even used to cure meat.
For the average person, experts recommending sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day, but no more than 2,400 mg a day; however, most people have much higher levels of sodium than that; it’s estimated that on average, a person consumes more than five teaspoons of salt every day, which is about 20 times the amount of sodium your body needs!
Whether you suspect you have high sodium levels, or your doctor has told you that your levels are high, don’t panic. There are ways that you can lower your sodium levels. While medication is certainly an option, the easiest way to keep your sodium levels in check is to make sure you are eating foods that are low in sodium.
Wondering what type of foods are low in sodium? Here are 20 options to check out.
1. Lean chicken breast
A 3 ounce serving of lean chicken breast has about 44 mg of sodium in it. If you are going to flavor it, either skip salt and flavorings that contain salt, or try to use as little salt as possible. There are a variety of ways that you can enjoy chicken: bake it or grill it for a tasty main dish; add it to stir fry (but watch the salt you add to the dish!), or use it in casseroles or other low-sodium dishes.
A 3 ounce serving of salmon has about 45 mg of sodium, so you won’t have to worry about increasing your salt levels when you add this healthy, cold water fish to your diet. In addition to being low in sodium, salmon is also full of valuable nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B 12, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, selenium, vitamin D and phosphorus. Grill up some salmon and sprinkle it with lemon juice, garlic and rosemary for a tasty and nutritious low sodium meal.
As the saying goes, an apple a day will keep the doctor away, and it turns out the saying is true – for many reasons. Apples are low in sodium, especially when you eat them raw and with the skin in-tact. They also add a great amount of fiber to your diet, and plenty of other nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin B6. You can munch on a whole apple for a healthy, low sodium snack, or you can slice it (remember to keep the peel on) and put spread some no-salt peanut butter on it.
This succulent, sweet, yet tart fruit is another low sodium food that you should add to your diet if you want to keep your sodium levels in check. In addition to being low in sodium, cherries are also packed with valuable nutrients, including potassium, vitamin A, protein, iron and calcium. A bowl of cherries makes a great tasting snack any time of the day. You can also slice them up and mix them into yogurt, or put add them to a fruit smoothie.
Prunes are famous for their ability to ease constipation and regulate the bowels, and that’s because they are high in fiber; however, prunes are also low in sodium, which makes them a healthy snack to munch on. In addition to being low in sodium and high in fiber, prunes (dried plumbs) are full of potassium, iron, vitamin K and beta carotene.
These super sweet berries are a favorite in tons of dishes because they taste so delicious. Not only are they yummy, but they are also super healthy. Strawberries are completely free of sodium, high in fiber, and contain tons of antioxidants. Eat strawberries right off the stem, slice them up and mix them into yogurt, put them on top of a salad, use them as a topper for cereal, or mix them into a smoothie.
Another great fruit for keeping your sodium levels in check, raspberries contain no sodium, and they are full of valuable nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin E, iron, potassium, manganese, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. You can munch on raspberries as they are for a healthy snack, put them into a smoothie, add them onto a salad, or mix them into a bowl of yogurt.
Yet another tasty and sodium free fruit, blueberries will not only keep your sodium levels in check, but they will also add tons of vital nutrients to your diet. Blueberries are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, fiber, and gallic acid. Like all other types of fruits, you can munch on blueberries for a tasty snack. You can also add them to other types of food, like yogurt, oatmeal, salt-free cottage cheese, salads, fruit smoothies and a variety of other dishes.
If you are looking for a great source of protein that is low in sodium, you can’t go wrong with chickpeas. They are also loaded with fiber, manganese, folate, copper and phosphorus. Chickpeas are a great addition to a salad, and they are super taste when mixed with rice and beans. You can also blend them into a paste to make a delicious and nutritious hummus, which you can use as a spread on a sandwich, or as a dip for veggies.
With only 1 gram of sodium in 1 cup, almonds are a great choice if you are looking to keep your sodium levels in check. Not only will you keep your sodium levels down, but you’ll also gain a number of vital nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, calcium and riboflavin. Be careful, though; when you shop for nuts, make sure you choose a natural, unsalted variety, otherwise you’ll be adding to your sodium intake. Grab a handful of almonds for a snack, sprinkle them on a salad, or put them on top of oatmeal.