Finding low sodium condiments

In a popular TV series “Once upon a time,” Rumplestiltskin (a.k.a. Mr. Gold) profoundly declares that condiments are this world’s magic (he is speaking, of course, about our world, so famous for its lack of magic). Also, on a number of occasions, the same character insists that magic always comes with a price. Well, here is the price list for this magic, if you will. Below you can find the most popular condiments and their sodium levels. Perhaps this will help someone to meet their goals in terms of reducing their sodium intake. Condiments are tricky, of course.

15 crucial tips for lower blood pressure through consuming less sodium

Desert illustrating high blood pressure

How much salt you eat on a daily basis is one of critical elements when trying to lower your blood pressure. Here are some basics.

  1. Treat sodium consumption seriously.
    Understand the importance of lowering your daily salt intake.
  2. Tell your family and friends that low sodium intake is important for you.
    You may find strong allies who will be very helpful.
  3. Check food labels routinely.
    Pay special attention to differences in sodium levels for similar products and styles. Low-fat and no-fat varieties frequently contain more sodium.
  4. Commit to cooking at home more often.
    When you do, be conscious about using salt and products containing sodium.
  5. Whenever possible, drain and rinse.
    In canned products a great deal of the sodium is contained in broth, juice etc.
  6. Eat more fruit.
    All fruit is low in sodium. Check labels on canned fruit. Rinse if needed.
  7. Eat more fresh and frozen vegetables.
    Check labels on canned vegetables. Rinse if needed.
  8. Use lower sodium versions of condiments.
    Condiments are designed to have a strong taste. Salt is often one of their primary ingredients.
  9. Decrease the salt in your recipes.
    Do it gradually. Sometimes you won’t notice a difference.
  10. Use more herbs and spices.
    There are so many varieties of herbs in spices that you are guaranteed to find something you like.
  11. When you eat out, ask your waiter about low-sodium meals on the menu.
    Be especially wary of restaurant sauces, gravy and salad dressings.
  12. Try no sodium and low sodium salt replacements.
    Some of these products have an acquired taste.
  13. Make your own salad dressing.
    You will have a healthier product with fewer ingredients that you can control.
  14. Make your own sauces and gravy.
    Preparing sauces and gravy often requires extra time. Try to develop recipeshat can become a source of pride for you.
  15. Make your own soups.
    Be careful using store-bought broths and stock. Check the labels. Try to develop a recipe that you will be able to share with pride and satisfaction of helping others.

Cheese with low sodium: checking salt content in popular cheeses

low sodium in cheese infographic

The kinds of cheese with the most amount of sodium

This chart representing sodium levels in popular varieties of cheese speaks for itself (click on the image to see a bigger version). Starting at the top, we have cheeses with the most amount of sodium: Parmesan, Asiago, Low Fat American, Blue cheese, American, Romano, Feta, Edam. Slightly lower in sodium are Provolone, Camembert, Gouda, Fontina. Pretty much the same sodium levels can be found in Mozzarella, Brie, Muenster, Mexican blend, Cheddar, Havarty and many others. All these varieties have just under 200 mg per 1 oz serving or one slice. Cheese found on your typical pizza can also be found in this middle of the road category.

Medium levels of cheese.

A few cheeses weigh in at 100 to 125 mg: Neufchatel, Goat cheese, Gruyere. Consider that the varieties at the top of the list have nearly 4 times the amount of sodium than these cheeses! If you enjoy their flavors, these cheeses can probably considered as an occasional delicacy of a not too strict low sodium diet. Remember that Gruyère cheese is technically a variation of Swiss cheese.

Quick low sodium pasta meal

This quick low sodium meal is so simple that it does not require a strict recipe. Get a box of your favorite pasta. Check the ingredients. Most likely you will see sodium listed at 0% per serving. It does not actually mean that there is no sodium at all, but there is typically under 10 milligrams per 100g (roughly two servings). That’s pretty low and most pastas are “naturally” low in sodium.

Sodium intake recommendations for children

World Health Organization recently published a report calling for even lower sodium consumption. In particular, WHO addressed the various health risk linked to high sodium intake in children: blood pressure, blood lipids, catecholamine levels and other potential adverse effects. The entire document is a 50+ page PDF that is probably not really meant to be read by the general public. It cites supporting research and provides evidence for the suggested measures.

Low sodium vegetables

Pretty much all vegetables should come with a disclaimer: “Not a significant source of sodium.” So, that’s a good thing! It seams as though only highly immoderate consumption of vegetables can increase your sodium intake. Even then, one has to wonder of health benefits might outweigh the danger! Still, there are just a few vegetables you should be slightly more aware of when it comes to sodium levels. First of all, seaweeds have a tendency to have higher amounts of salt (no surprise there).

Is excessive sodium really bad for you?

Image: ericarhiannon. Just found an article in Scientific American which summarizes recent research trends regarding salt consumption. The text is heavily biased against the understanding that excessive salt is bad for you: “a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.

What fruits are low in sodium?

When you are shopping at your local grocery store it is wise to look at the labels. However, many items don’t have labels. When is the last time you saw an apple with a familiar square box with nutritional facts? Fortunately, as far as sodium content goes, you don’t have to be too careful with fruits. In their natural raw state they have minimum to low amounts of sodium chloride. Therefore, the examples of low sodium fruits are numerous.

Low sodium mashed potatoes (using Kitchenaid)

Mashed potatoes are great when you cook for the entire family, because you can use as little salt as you want. In fact, you can get your own portion without adding any salt at all and then add some salt for those members of your family who have not yet been enlightened. Sweet potatoes are much more nutritious than white potatoes, but some folks just don’t like their taste or the texture.

Travel spice shaker

Dick Logue in his book “500 Low Sodium Recipes” suggest that you carry a small shaker with your favorite blend of sodium free spices. This will for sure enable you not to resort to salt shakers when eating out. You can also more confidently order dishes with specific instructions to go low on salt — because you will be able to add your own spices. After much searching I found just the right shaker for this purpose.