One way to reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome is to reduce high blood pressure. Reducing the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet is a great start.
If you're like most Americans, you eat more salt than your body needs. Studies show the average sodium intake is more than 3,400 mg per day, which is too high. The USDA advises that adults and children age 14 years and older limit their salt intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Reducing it to 1,500 mg per day would be an added benefit if you have high blood pressure.
Here are some tips to help reduce your salt intake:
Buy fresh vegetables. If you buy frozen or canned, look for a no-salt-added label.
Don't eat processed or packaged meats. Some meats, such as poultry, are often "enhanced" with saltwater.
Cut back on canned, packaged, processed, and frozen foods in general. These tend to have a lot of sodium. If you do use canned foods, rinse them under running water first to remove some of the sodium.
Buy low-salt items. When buying ready-to-eat foods, look for the low-sodium types.
Learn to read nutrition labels. A low-sodium food will generally be 5% or less of the Daily Value for sodium intake. You can also increase the amount of potassium you eat. This will reduce some of the effects that salt has on your blood pressure.
Don't flavor your meals with salt. Instead use fresh herbs and spices, such as pepper, garlic, and oregano. These fresh food and tasty flavor options let you spice up your diet in a healthy way.
Take the saltshaker off the table. Then you won't be tempted to shake salt on your meal.
Make more meals at home. This gives you more control over the salt content and other important parts of healthy food preparation.