Stick to a healthy diet by opting for these low-sodium foods for your meal plans.
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In this article:
10 Low-Sodium Foods to Add to Your Meal Plans
Why Limit Sodium Intake
Excessive levels of sodium in the body pose a risk on the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Kidney stones
- Kidney disease
- Enlarged heart muscle
- Puffiness and bloating
The recommended daily sodium intake according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is less than 2,300 mg a day. That’s about a teaspoon of salt.
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are 13 foods low in sodium you can add to your diet.
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice has 0 sodium but is sometimes cooked with a pinch of salt for flavor. For a healthier alternative, use other spices like cayenne, turmeric, or paprika.
Aside from its low sodium content, brown rice also has extra proteins and fiber that provides the following health benefits:
- Helps in lowering blood pressure
- Aids in managing blood sugar levels
- Promotes the growth of gut bacteria
- Helps you feel full faster
Brown rice is also a great source of selenium, which plays a role in thyroid hormone and antioxidant production. It’s also packed with B vitamins that can help boost your energy levels and keep your heart healthy.
2. Grass-Fed Beef
At only about 45 g of sodium, a patty made from grass-fed beef is a great addition to a low-sodium diet.
In addition to its low sodium content, grass-fed beef also has the following heart-healthy nutrients:
- More omega-3 fatty acids
- Conjugated linoleic acid
- Vitamin E
3. Free Range Eggs
With just around 60-70 mg of sodium apiece, omega-3 fatty acids, high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, healthy doses of vitamins A, D, and E, free range eggs are a solid pick for a low-sodium diet.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin Definition: Compounds that protect vision by filtering out harmful rays
4. Fresh Veggies
Vegetables have little to no sodium at all.
Some notable picks include sweet potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, beets, artichoke, and celery at around less than 140 mg of sodium.
Brussel sprouts, onion, and mushrooms have very little sodium levels while cucumber, asparagus, eggplant, green beans, garlic, and squash have none at all.
Just keep in mind that the use of seasonings or sauces increases the sodium content. Baking, stir-frying, or steaming veggies with a little dash of your favorite spices are the best way to prep veggies.
5. Fresh Fruits
Like vegetables, fresh fruits also have low levels of sodium. These are a great substitute for high-sodium snacks like chips and fast food.
Here are some of the best fruits with low to 0 sodium:
Yogurt is a probiotic that helps with digestion and weight loss, increasing bone density, and keeping your mood levels healthy. A cup has about 115 mg of sodium.
It has high doses of B vitamins, calcium, and trace minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
Some studies also observed its effect on improving heart health and immunity.
7. Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is a great alternative for normal cheese which has higher levels of sodium. You can add it to salads, omelets, vegetable dishes, and other delicious recipes.
Goat cheese is also subtler to the stomach. It forms a softer, gentler curd that causes lesser gut irritation during digestion.
There are also studies that observed its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties.
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8. Unsalted Nuts and Seeds
If you want low-sodium, protein-rich, and fiber-dense snacks, choosing unsalted nuts and seeds is the way to go.
On top of the aforementioned benefits, they’re also packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Some of the best picks are:
- Chia seeds
Quinoa is a low-sodium protein source with about 13 mg of sodium per cup (cooked). Similar to brown rice, salt is commonly used to add flavor but as it is it already has a nutty flavor.
This gluten-free grain is also rich in fiber and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol. These two plant antioxidants have shown anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects in several animal studies.
For those watching their weight, quinoa makes you feel full for a longer period of time, hence the lesser urge to grab another bite.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains on the planet. These low-sodium, gluten-free grains are great sources of the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B3 (in smaller amounts)
They’re also rich in antioxidants and avenanthramides, plant compounds that may help lower blood pressure by raising nitric oxide production.
Additionally, because of their beta-glucan content, oats may also help in improving blood sugar levels.
Beta-Glucan Definition: A kind of fiber that forms a thick gel in the gut delaying the emptying of the stomach and glucose absorption in the blood
Other Low-Sodium Diet Tips
To further reduce your daily sodium intake, you can try the following tips:
- Do not eat packaged or processed foods as these are usually loaded with salt. If this can’t be stopped, it’s important to check labels and choose those with low sodium content; 140 mg of sodium per serving or less is a good benchmark.
- When purchasing frozen meats, choose those with around 600 mg sodium or less.
- Put takeouts and eating out to a minimum. It’s best if you cook your meals at home to control how much salt is used.
- Choose seasonings or spice blends without salt. Fresh herbs, onions, pepper, or garlic are great alternatives.
- You can also try orange, lime, vinegar, lemon, as marinade base for meats to add tart flavor.
Yes, sodium is important in bodily processes like normal body fluid maintenance and proper nerves and muscles functioning but excessive levels can be dangerous. Starting your low-sodium diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor and taste.
Check out this video from Sooraj Mohan for some more low-sodium foods and quick information for each:
All you need is a bit of creativity when cooking and patience when shopping. Start with this list!
You can try Dr. Seeds Vitamin D3 for added health support.
What are your favorite foods with low sodium? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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