Heart Month Week 2: Shake the Salt Habit

Changing how and what we eat is one way to help keep our heart healthy

Canadians are still eating more than the recommended daily amount of salt. This is important because salt can raise blood pressure and put a person at higher risk for a stroke or heart attack.

However, we do need some salt each day, and table salt (not the salt in processed foods) contains iodine, which is important for the healthy growth of our body and brain.

Health Canada recommends no more 2,300 mg of sodium daily, which is no more than a teaspoon of salt each day.

Week 2: A Tip a Day to Help Reduce Salt in Your Diet

When possible prepare your own meals – most of the salt we get in our diet comes from packaged foods and fast food.

Taste your food before adding salt – how many of us automatically reach for the salt shaker before tasting the food first?

When reducing salt, you may find you still need to add some tingle and sparkle for your taste buds or the food will just taste bland. Try adding flavours such as vinegar, lemon or lime juice, herbs, spices, garlic, onion, ginger, pepper instead of salt.

Rinse canned vegetables, canned beans and lentils, canned peas. You benefit from the convenience of the canned food, but without the added salt.

Create your own salad dressings with ingredients such as oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dried herbs, pepper, mustard.

Choose foods that say ‘low sodium’ ‘reduced sodium’, ‘unsalted’ or ‘sodium-free’ on the label.

Check the Nutrition Facts label:

  • look for products that have less than 5% Daily Value sodium
  • avoid foods that have more than 15% Daily Value sodium
  • an entire main course meal should have less than 30% Daily Value sodium


Use the online salt calculator from Big Life to see how much salt you are eating each day

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