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Lowering the sodium

Most of the sodium in the typical American diet comes from foods that have had salt or high-sodium ingredients added during processing or preparation. Fast foods and commercially prepared items such as frozen entrees are notoriously high in sodium. But even if you prepare most of your food at home, you may be adding sodium in the form of bouillon cubes, canned broth or soup, canned tomato products with added salt, soy sauce and other seasonings or just plain table salt.

For most main dishes, side dishes, soups and salads, you can reduce the salt in a recipe by half or eliminate it completely. (You may want to add other flavorings such as herbs, spices or garlic to compensate for less salt.) You can also seek out low-sodium or reduced-sodium ingredients when a recipe calls for broth, canned or dried soups, or canned vegetables. In some dishes you may be able to substitute a fresh ingredient, such as fresh tomatoes in place of canned, salted tomatoes, for a substantial reduction in sodium. (For more suggestions, see “Reducing Sodium.”)

In baked goods that don’t require yeast, begin by reducing the salt by half to lower the sodium content. However, for recipes that call for yeast, don’t reduce the amount of salt. It’s necessary for the growth of the yeast, and reducing it could result in dense, flat loaves of bread.

Originally Published February 28, 2011

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