Are you tired of doctors like me always telling you what not to do, don't eat this, don't eat that, just don't do it? But guess what? By popular demand, today I'm going to tell you what you should do! I'm going to tell you the low sodium foods that you should eat in order to improve your health. Now we know that having a low sodium diet is critical for preventing and managing high blood pressure. And high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, strokes, and kidney failure. So today stay tuned because I'm going to give you 7 low sodium foods to combat high blood pressure and to improve your heart health.
How Much Sodium Should You Have A Day?
In a previous YouTube video, I gave you 10 high sodium foods to avoid. You want to be sure you check out that video after you finish reading this. After that video, I got so many requests. People were like Dr. Frita, you keep telling us what high sodium foods not to eat, but what are some low sodium foods we actually can eat? Hmm, good question. We'll answer it today. But first, let me tell you how much sodium should you have a day.
Now, sodium is a mineral that is essential for good health, but as with most things, too much of anything is not good. And so you definitely do not want to have too much sodium in your diet because that can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Most of the sodium in your diet will come from pre-packaged foods, and so it's important that you try to have fresh foods and that you know the salt content. According to the USDA, you should be taking in less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, or less than 2.3 grams of sodium.
According to the World Health Organization, you should have less than two grams or 2000 milligrams of sodium a day. And when it comes down to that American Heart Association, they are quite stringent, quite strict. And they say, you should have less than 1.5 grams of sodium a day, or less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium. So it's important that you become label watchers and really pay attention to the amount of sodium that you take in. And it's also important that you pay attention to this article because we are going to talk about some foods that are low in sodium.
7 Low Sodium Foods To Fight High Blood Pressure
1. Fresh Fruit
I'm sure that's not a shocker. You know that fruit is healthy. So what fruits do, they have low sodium, but they also have vitamins, minerals, and they have fiber. Fresh fruits also tend to be filling, and so you don't want to eat as much. Fruits can also satisfy that sweet tooth and make you less likely to go out and get those carbs that are really high in unhealthy sugars. And so fresh fruit is a low sodium food that you want to have in your diet.
Here are some fruits that are really excellent and low in sodium.
- Bananas - also an excellent source of potassium
- Strawberries - they can also be a food that can be a natural way to help to lower blood pressure as are many of these foods.
- Pears - also high in fiber
Make sure you check out my video on how to lower blood pressure naturally to see which ones of these foods pop up in that video. Make sure when you're thinking about your low sodium foods, that you put fruit at the top of the list.
2. Fresh Vegetables
Now you know good and well that fresh vegetables are low in sodium. But remember I said fresh veggies, not all vegetables. So there are some vegetables that are lower in sodium than others. And I'll talk about those in just a second, but I do want to remind you that while fresh vegetables are the best if you are in a situation where you cannot always get fresh vegetables, you want to get frozen vegetables because the frozen vegetables are going to have less sodium than canned veggies.
How to reduce sodium in canned vegetables
Now those canned vegetables, let me tell you something about the canned vegetables. You definitely want to avoid them if you can, but realistically, canned vegetables are much less expensive than fresh vegetables. Now I understand that everyone is not in a position to always be able to go out and buy these organic, fresh vegetables. So let me tell you something practical you can do if you're in a situation where you have to have canned vegetables, look at the labels. If you see vegetables that are in the can and it says, no salt added, that's the one you want. And certainly, if you see reduced sodium, that's going to be better than getting the typical canned vegetables. But if your canned vegetables are high in sodium and you don't have much of a choice in that, don't worry. What you do is you open that can, and you pour off that salty stock. You pour off the salty water and you replace it with water that has no salt, and that will help you to reduce the sodium, even if you have to have canned vegetables. But again, fresh vegetables are the best. Number two, frozen vegetables. And if you have canned vegetables, then those are some tricks to still keep your sodium low.
Low sodium vegetables
Now here's the interesting thing about vegetables. Some vegetables actually do have some sodium in them. And so I'm going to talk to you about which vegetables are known for having low sodium. The vegetables that have a moderately low amount of sodium include onions, Brussel sprouts, and celery.
Vegetables that contain almost no sodium
But then if you really want to be strict with your sodium and you want to have vegetables that have essentially zero sodium, that's when you are going to want to look to your cucumbers. Cucumbers have essentially no sodium. So that's excellent. Also squash. I love eating some squash. Squash has essentially no sodium. And some other really, really low sodium vegetables include garlic. Garlic has practically no sodium. So we're talking about the very, very, very low sodium vegetables. And you already knew that garlic is something that can help to enhance your immune system. It can help to lower your blood pressure naturally. So garlic has all kinds of things going on.
Asparagus has very, very low or essentially no sodium as well. And guess what else? Green beans. Get yourself some fresh ones if you can. But green beans have essentially no sodium.
Avoid Adding Sauces and Cheeses To Vegetables
Now here's the deal. A lot of you guys think about, ooh, I love vegetables. I love everything you mentioned. You're probably thinking you like squash, casserole and you like, you know, all kinds of vegetables, but think about why you like those vegetables. I hope you like them because they're fresh and delicious. If you like them because they're cooked in a whole bunch of sauces, I want you to rethink it because a lot of times the sauces add sodium. So I'm really talking about dealing with fresh vegetables, cooked with no sodium added. The squash has no sodium alone, but if you put it in a casserole with all kinds of bread, cheese, salt, you're defeating the purpose.
So you want to figure out ways to cook these vegetables. You can have them raw for sure, but if you're gonna cook them, you want to cook them with no sodium. And we'll talk about some tricks on how to do that and still have your flavor. There are ways to add flavor to your vegetables without using salt. You can use certain fruits like lemons, or lemon zest, and that can help to enhance the flavor of your foods. You can add all kinds of herbs, you can add peppers, ginger, red pepper is good, you can add garlic to the other vegetables, and onions. Just really be creative and think of ways to spice up your food without adding salt.
You can also use some of the salt substitutes, but you want to be careful, and again, you want to be a label watcher because a lot of the salt substitutes are high in potassium. And if you are a person who needs to have a potassium restriction, then you certainly don't want to have high potassium. For example, if you are a chronic kidney disease patient, or if you're on dialysis, typically you want to limit your potassium to less than two grams a day. And so if you're doing a salt substitute, that's high potassium that defeats the purpose.
Make sure in everything you do, you consult your physician and you find out the amount of potassium or the amount of sodium that's recommended for you.
Yogurt is excellent because it can be a source of protein. It can be a source of good bacteria, which can help with your digestion. It can have some vitamins and minerals in it, and yogurt is another low sodium food. Here's the key, you want to have plain yogurt. Plain, low-fat yogurt. And you don't want to have a whole lot of additives like the fruits that come in the yogurt, because sometimes that leans to having more salt.
So in other words, if they're putting fruits in there that are not fresh fruits, then you may be missing the whole point and you may end up having sodium in your yogurt. So get yourself a plain yogurt. And this yogurt and make sure you watch what a serving size is. If you don't love plain yogurt, that's okay. You can add your own fruit to it, but make sure you're adding fresh fruits that also are low in sodium.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another low sodium food. But here's the thing, you have to make sure that the nuts are unsalted. Don't come around here with all kinds of salty, salty, nuts, and thinking you're having a low sodium diet because you're not. Unsalted nuts are an excellent source for so many things. Proteins, you can have good fats in the nuts. Nuts can act as a snack to kind of help fill you up. You can even cook with nuts. But just remember, having unsalted nuts and seeds is another low sodium food that can help to fight high blood pressure and improve heart health.
5. Oats and Grains
Oats and grains are low sodium foods. Now I go into detail about whole grains versus processed grains. I'm talking about whole grains. Make sure you watch my video on a heart-healthy diet after you finish reading this article. So yes, oats are low in sodium, and oats are also good for so many other things, they are heart-healthy and they can even help you when you're trying to have a diet to lower your cholesterol.
Grains are low in sodium as well. You can have rice. Brown rice is actually quite low in sodium. But again, you don't want to add all kinds of sauces and this and that and additives, don't mess up your good thing. When I give you these foods, these foods are low in sodium, but be careful not to add sodium to them.
You know what, I like eggs, I really do. And you can just have your egg whites if you like, but eggs are actually packed with protein, they are, and you're able to season your eggs without using salt, and then it can be another one of these low sodium foods. You can season your eggs with pepper, and or garlic, onion, spinach, but just don't add salt. If you are a person with high cholesterol, make sure to consult your physician to find out if eggs are okay for you. But in general, eggs are another low sodium food.
7. Fresh Fish and Chicken
I know we talk about plant-based diets and how they are very safe and healthy, and it is true. But I also know that many of you do eat meat. And so if you're eating meat, I want to give you low sodium options. If the fish is fresh, ooh, like salmon, macro, those fish with nice high omega-3s and the healthy fats. Don't add salt to them. Use some of the seasonings that we talked about. Same thing with chicken. Chicken with no skin fresh and don't add salt to it.
I keep mentioning fresh because if you're dealing with pre-packaged deli meats that come in a pre-packaged container, look at that label. Those tend to have high sodium. And so if you're eating meat, make sure that you get fresh meat when you can, and don't add salt to it.
The foods I mentioned are the low sodium foods that I do want you to eat in order to fight high blood pressure and improve your heart health. And in order to learn more about these diseases that we're trying to avoid, make sure you check out my other YouTube videos, check out my videos on high blood pressure, heart disease, and how to keep your kidneys healthy. All of these diseases are the things that we're trying to avoid by having a low sodium diet.