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Kidney Diet Tips

August 6, 2014

  Please pass over the salt

iStock_000000597146Small-Salt Shaker PassFollowing a low-sodium diet would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable all the time. Read more…

July 21, 2014

Is sea salt or kosher salt better than table salt?

SaltSea salt features a coarse texture and stronger flavor compared to table salt. Sea salt is made from evaporated seawater, so sea salt contains traces of additional minerals and is natural instead of processed. Kosher salt has large crystals and contains no preservatives. Kosher salt can be derived from seawater or underground sources. Table salt has fine granules and is mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is processed with anti-caking agent to prevent clumping. Some table salts are fortified with iodine, a mineral important for thyroid hormones.

While there are textural and processing differences in sea salt, kosher salt and table salt, all of these salts share one thing in common; all are high in sodium. While none of these salts is lower in sodium, due to the size of the sea salt and kosher salt crystals, a measured teaspoon will contain less sodium compared to the fine granules in table salt.  When following a low sodium diet, all salt should be limited. However, using larger textured sea salt and kosher salt may help reduce sodium by a very small amount.

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June 13, 2014

What’s the difference between salt and sodium?

Eat Less SaltSalt is composed of two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Table salt (NaCl) contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. As much as we are told to limit sodium in our diets, we all need some sodium for good health. However, the average American diet contains about three times more sodium than is healthy, which leads to high blood pressure and other health issues.

Many natural foods contain sodium organically; however, in much lower amounts than processed foods. Processed and restaurant foods are the culprits for the high levels of sodium in today’s diets. By reading food labels you can see how much sodium foods contain to make better choices. Looking for labels with “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” and “no added salt” is helpful, but always look for the nutrition label to see the actual amount of sodium. Eating natural foods and cooking these foods yourself are the best ways to control your sodium intake. For people with chronic kidney disease, the goal according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010  should be to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day or the amount prescribed by their doctor. People on dialysis find it easier to control fluid intake when sodium intake is lower.

Basically, when it comes to the difference between salt and sodium, remember that consuming salt and processed foods is the ways we get sodium in our diets.

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June 14, 2013

Kidney Diet Tip: Please Pass Over the Salt

 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend all people reduce sodium to 2,300 mg or less. For African Americans of any age, people who are 51 and older, or those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the sodium recommendation is 1,500 mg or less. Meeting these  low-sodium diet guidelines would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable. Enjoying the convenience of packaged foods and prepared meals as well as the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant mean you really don’t know how much sodium is in the food you consume.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on sodium intake is to pass up using table salt. It may take some getting used to, especially if it’s been a lifelong habit to add salt to foods—sometimes even without tasting first. Read more…

September 16, 2010

How much salt do you use?

If you have kidney disease or are at risk one question to ask yourself is “How much salt do you add in cooking or at the table?” Try to evaluate by measuring all the salt you use in cooking or at the table for 2 to 3 days. Use the chart below to estimate added salt and the effect of reducing it. Read more…

August 10, 2010

Lower sodium in processed foods: good news for people with kidney disease

The US is experiencing rising levels of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Attempts to control these diseases, which are even affecting children and teenagers, are now turning to food legislation and the food industry. Just last week the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act, also referred to as the Child Nutrition Act, was passed by the US senate as an effort to provide healthier school meals to help control obesity in children. Limits on the types of beverages and vending machine snacks in schools will follow. More attention to fat, sugar and sodium in the food supply could make a difference in the health of many people. Read more…

March 27, 2010

Salt: a hidden danger for people with kidney disease

A high salt intake is even more damaging to your health than eating too many calories, too much cholesterol or even smoking. That’s because eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and can interfere with the effectiveness of your blood pressure medications. Uncontrolled blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes and heart attacks. For kidney patients on dialysis, salt not only increases blood pressure, it contributes to thirst and makes removal of fluid from your body more difficult. Read more…

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