Nutrition and Eating Habits will always play a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being. Undoubtedly, consuming healthy food has a significant impact on the aging process and quality of life that one can lead. Specifically, diet plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure. Though there are various aspects of diet that influence blood pressure(BP), salt or sodium chloride is a major contributor. High blood pressure or hypertension is dangerous as it is the leading cause of heart disease worldwide
High intake of salt and sodium are not favored in the nutrition industry. However, it is important that it is consumed in the right quantity. Healthy eating involves consumption of a low-sodium diet. This must be supplemented by sufficient potassium intake because it’s deficiency forces body cells to take up more sodium. Recommendation given by Food and Nutrition Board suggests a low intake of about 1,200 milligrams of sodium/day for seniors after seventy years of age.
Benefits of Lower Sodium Diet
- Lowers your blood pressure and maintains blood volume
- Reduces risk of developing cardiovascular diseases
- Decreased probability of stroke and stomach cancer
- Reduced risk of developing osteoporosis and kidney stones
- Maintains normal fluid balance in the body and keeps edema under control
- Decreases high water retention in the body which in turn causes heart failure
- Helps in weight loss
- Certain medications like antihypertensives and diuretics work effectively with low sodium foods
Low Sodium Foods to Eat
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Fresh Fruits like apples, oranges and bananas
- Fresh vegetables like carrot, broccoli and spinach. Frozen vegetables without extra butter or sauce, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes may also be consumed. In case of canned vegetables, those with low sodium or nil salt must be chosen.
- High Fiber Foods
- Whole grain foods like brown rice, barley, quinoa
- Whole-grain pasta, whole wheat breakfast cereals with no added sugar like oatmeal or shredded wheat
- Unsalted popcorn or low-sodium chips
- Whole wheat bread, tortillas, English muffins
- High Protein foods
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Fresh eggs
- Chicken or turkey breast without skin or marinade
- Lean pieces of beef/pork
- Beans and peas like kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, split peas and lentils
- Canned beans with no salt added
- Dairy products
- Low fat milk
- Plain yogurt
- Low-sodium cheese
- Soymilk with added supplements of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D
- Flavoring agents (as substitute for salt)
- Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning blends
- Chopped vegetables, like garlic, onions, and peppers
- Lemon and lime juice
- Other Oils, Dressings and Condiments
- Vegetable Oils
- Low sodium salad dressings, ketchups and sauce
- Unsalted margarine and spreads
Tips for Low Sodium Diet
- When buying provisions or groceries, carefully read nutrition labels and find edibles with low sodium content.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables rather than frozen ones.
- Limit consumption of processed foods.
- Avoid adding salt when cooking and substitute it with herbs instead.
- Include foods rich in potassium.
Today’s busy lifestyle and burdening responsibilities give seniors few opportunities to carefully plan and watch what they are eating. Elders needing assistance for healthcare and nutritional support can consider care options like senior living homes facilities and Assisted Living(AL) Facilities. These facilities offer customized food plans based on health requirements and personal preferences of seniors. AL Facilities specifically have great menu options with their assisted living food plans that include homely, fresh, nutritious, healthy menus with variety of choices. So, seniors can enjoy tasty low sodium, less calorie, high fiber foods without compromising on their taste buds!