Where does salt come from and reducing intake

Published 4:57 pm Saturday, September 21, 2013

More and more, I hear customers asking me for low-sodium items.

Whether you need to decrease salt for medical reasons or you just want to be healthier, here are a few things you should know:

•Only 5 percent of the salt we consume is added during cooking.

Email newsletter signup

•6 percent is added at the table during the meal.

•12 percent is naturally occurring in foods.

•77 percent of sodium comes from processed or prepared foods (at home and in restaurants).

Diets high in sodium are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  A healthy goal for sodium is 2,300 mg per day.  But for those with high blood pressure or heart disease, it’s more appropriate to aim for 1,500 mg per day. Here are some tips to reduce your sodium intake:

•Don’t be fooled by the different types of salt — they all contain large amounts of sodium. Table salt contains about 2,325 mg per teaspoon.  Sea salts and kosher salts contain about 2,000 mg per teaspoon.

•Instead — use herbs and spices to flavor foods.  Try fresh or dried herbs of all kinds, spices, vinegar and citrus to season your food instead of the salt shaker.   In fact, using citrus and vinegar really gives a salty taste without any sodium.

•Choose low- or no-sodium canned foods.  You can now find no-salt-added canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, canned peas, corn and green beans.   Use them in recipes where then you can control how much sodium is added later.

•On store shelves, look for foods with less than 200 mg per sodium per serving, yet keep in mind the goal for a meal would be 500-600 mg of sodium.  Check the low-sodium listing on http://www.hy-vee.com/meal-solutions/special-diets/default.aspx for a full listing of products that are less than 140 mg per serving.

•Learn to read labels. Food packages can include a lot of lingo about sodium, including sodium-free, low sodium, unsalted.  Here is a listing of what they all mean.

Sodium-free or salt-free: Each serving contains less than 5 mg of sodium.

Very low sodium: Each serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less.

Low sodium: Each serving contains 140 mg of sodium or less.

Reduced or less sodium: Each serving contains at least 25 percent less sodium than the original version of the product.

Lite or light in sodium: The sodium content has been reduced by at least 50 percent from the original version of the product.

Unsalted or no-salt-added: No salt is added during the processing of a food that normally contains salt.  However, some foods with these labels may still be high in sodium.

Reduced-sodium vegetable flatbread pizza

Serves 5. Source: www.hy-vee.com

All you need

•1 (6.5 ounce) pizza crust mix

•½ cup pizza sauce

•1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

•1-1/2 cups chopped spinach

•¼ cup chopped basil leaves

•1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

•1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

•1 clove garlic, minced

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare pizza crust according to directions for THIN crust.

3. Spread sauce over dough and top with cheese, spinach, basil, tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic.

4. Bake for 12-17 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Nutrition Information per serving: 230 calories, 7 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 12 grams protein, 490 mg sodium.