Mahaska Health Partnership Encourages More Herbs, Less Salt in Your Diet
MAHASKA COUNTY – Salt is a contributing factor in high blood pressure, a condition affecting 1 in every 3 American adults. August 29 is National More Herbs, Less Salt Day, and Mahaska Health Partnership has some tips on how to reduce your salt intake.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), everyone should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams, or about 1 teaspoon per day. For adults over age 51, African Americans and individuals with chronic kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, 1,500 mg a day is recommended for sodium intake.
“Sodium is hiding in many everyday items people eat,” MHP Registered Dietitian Lea Rice shared. “Condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings and seasoning packets are usually high in sodium. Many frozen food items and pre-packaged box dinners boast high sodium content even if they claim to be healthy. It’s important to pay attention to the Nutrition Facts when purchasing groceries to ensure you are not over your recommended salt intake.”
Rice suggested cooking at home on a regular basis to avoid excess salt. “I understand how hectic life has become for the average family, and how easy it is to do take-out meals. However, those meals can have very high sodium content, along with other unhealthy aspects like fat. When possible, cook at home. Even if it’s putting something together and leaving it in the slow-cooker all day, you can control the ingredients and reduce your family’s salt intake. If you do eat out, you can request having your food prepared with less salt.”
Eating fresh and incorporating more fruits and vegetables was another one of Rice’s tips. “The less your food is processed, the more control you have on the ingredients. I encourage you to try new herbs for seasoning, rather than salt. Garlic, vinegar, lemon juice or no-salt seasoning mixes are great tools for beginners to try out. Once you learn more about herbs and spices that you enjoy, venturing into more specific flavors can be exciting.”
Thanks to Oskaloosa being selected as a Blue Zones Project® demonstration site, there are many opportunities for the community to get on the healthy track and increase our overall well-being. “There’s no better time than right now to modify your eating habits,” encouraged Rice. “The trick is to create a plan that is individualized to your specific needs, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a becoming a healthier you.”
As a Registered Dietitian, Rice provides one-on-one consultations to teach healthy eating habits. She works with patients of all ages and tailors her recommendations to their personal needs. “The same plan doesn’t work for each patient,” Rice explained. “Someone with diabetes requires different nutrition than a person trying to lose weight. I enjoy getting to know my patients and developing a personalized plan for each one.”
To schedule a consultation with Rice, call 641.672.3303.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit www.mahaskahealth.org.