Canada, with its 3 400 mg per day, is one of the countries where the average sodium intake is the highest in the world. The overconsumption of sodium can be explained by the mineral’s ubiquity in most transformed products. Salt is in fact used as a flavour enhancer and food preservative. So, what can we do to decrease our daily sodium intake? Here are some solutions to satisfy your salty tooth while maintaining your physical well-being.
Industrial sliced bread is the food that contributes the most to the high proportions of sodium in Canadians’ diet. Each slice doesn’t have enormous quantities of sodium. However, it’s eating many slices a day that gets the numbers up!
For example, if you eat 2 toasts in the morning and a sandwich at lunch, you consume about 800 mg of sodium (which is 35% of the recommended daily value).
A simple solution would be to vary your breakfasts or lunches in order to have bread in only one meal. You could make a big salad with your sandwich ingredients, for example, or replace the bread with rice paper and make spring rolls.
Mostly known under the brand name NoSalt™, potassium salt is a potassium-chloride-based mix which tastes like salt but doesn’t have the same adverse effects on health as sodium overconsumption.
Caution! People with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases should consult a healthcare professional before including potassium salt in their diet.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning. It’s in fact a protein-rich fermented paste that has a pronounced salty taste. It’s usually made from soybeans, rice or barley, and sea salt. The mix is then fermented for a few weeks, which gives us this paste, used to season soups and make broths. There’s nothing quite like a good homemade vegetable or chicken broth!
You might be used to sprinkling some on your Caesar salad without thinking much of it… But did you know there is more than 1000 mg of sodium in a small 30 g portion of simulated bacon? Instead, use vegan rice paper bacon, tempeh, or smoked tofu crumbs. It’s almost too good to be true!
You can always hide your saltshaker, but adding salt on your meals at home only makes abut 11% of your daily sodium intake. The remaining percentage usually comes from the transformed food products you eat.
Therefore, try to cook at home as much as you can using fresh ingredients. When you go to the supermarket, try to stick to the sides and avoid the central aisles. This way, you cart should end up filled with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultries, fish, sea foods, and artisan bakery products.
Do you love sauce? You might be exceeding your daily needs in sodium with just one plate! Shop-bought sauces are often very high in sodium, much like most condiments. Try to find low-sodium options or make your own sauces at home. You could even add fresh herbs and spices instead of salt. If you’re a fan of hot sauce, opt for the Tabasco™ sauce, which has less sodium than Sriracha™. Plus, you’ll probably put less!
The biggest drawback for companies who try to reduce the sodium level of their products is the resistance of consumers who immediately notice a change in taste. The best example is that of the original vegetable juice and its low-sodium version.
As you might have guessed, the original version is much saltier, which makes the taste of the low-sodium version seem off. But we should encourage people to try these products again, even though an adaptation period may be necessary, because, in the end, it’s much better for the health.
Here is an homemade alternative to replace table salt and get an interesting taste in most recipes (salads, meats, fish, rice…):
Caution! Garlic, celery, and onion salts also have sodium! Opt for the much better garlic, celery, or onion powders instead!
The idea of reducing the average sodium consumption in Canada doesn't seem so easy. Plus, unless there is a mass movement towards low-sodium products, the industry is unlikely to change its recipes. But we can also try to cook more at home and avoid products that are high in sodium for our health’s benefit!
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