How to shake off your salt addiction

How to shake off your salt addiction

Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes, yet most people are consuming more than three times the daily minimum requirement of 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

Chicago-based chemist and food scientist Kantha Shelke told NPR that one guaranteed method to reduce sodium is to avoid processed foods, since food companies rely heavily on salt for not only flavor but also its ability to prevent spoilage.

Or for an even more disciplined approach, try eliminating sodium from your diet completely for three weeks, then gradually adding it back in. The goal is to "retrain" your palate to be more sensitive to salty foods, noted Shelke.

To cut back on salt intake, the Mayo Clinic also advises eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, opting for low sodium foods and using fresh herbs to flavor meals. The American Heart Association recommends selecting unsalted nuts, and avoiding adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes. When dining out, specify that your dish be prepared without salt. Also, don't reach for the salt shaker, ever.

Food companies are facing pressures to reduce sodium in their products while not tinkering too much with the taste. NPR stated that some companies are adding salt only to the finished product, such as crackers or chips. Note to consumers: read the label and find out how much sodium the product contains before purchasing.