How to Live a Low-Sodium Lifestyle with Parkinson’s Disease

Last updated: July 2022

Feeling salty about cutting down on sodium? I get it. I often hear from clients that it can be a big challenge. But, living a high salt life can increase the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart disease, and more.

With Parkinson's disease, a heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet, which moderates sodium intake, may be recommended. While it may feel like your taste buds are taking one for the team, decreasing your sodium intake does not have to feel like a mealtime snooze. Check out these tasty and simple yet effective daily substitutes to help reach your health potential.1

How much sodium should I be getting?

As part of living a healthy lifestyle, dietary guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. While this may sound like plenty, about 90 percent of American children and adults consume an average of 3,400 mg per day.2

It is not just a heavy hand with the saltshaker that will drive up sodium intake. A large proportion stems from food processing and shelf-stabilizing techniques. For an easy way to reduce your intake, shop the grocery store’s perimeter – home to fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins.

The difference between less and low

When it comes to food labels, there is plenty of confusing terminology. Each phrase may sound similar, but they differ a lot in meaning. Use the glossary below to feel confident about making healthful choices.

Reduced sodium

These products contain 25 percent less sodium than the original product. However, with many frozen, canned, or convenience foods containing a high proportion of the daily recommended intake, more than just a reduction is needed. But it is a step in the right direction!

Low sodium

These options contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. However, be aware of how many servings are in a package. For example, many canned soups contain 2 servings or more, yet they often get eaten in one sitting.

No salt added

This is the best option for significantly lowering your sodium intake. These foods are processed without adding salt, and often contain little to no sodium.

If your grocery store only offers regular canned beans or vegetables, do not worry. Just give these foods a quick rinse in water to reduce the sodium content by about 40 percent. Talk about a salt saver! Then add in plenty of fresh or dried herbs or spices, which are available in ready-made combos full of flavor.

Cutting down on daily sodium

While canned goods are a common culprit for high sodium levels, they do not act alone. Check out these other salt-filled foods that can be swapped for more healthful options.

Deli meat

These slices are a household staple and lunchbox favorite. But their extensive processing drives up sodium levels to about 362 mg per ounce. Not many people limit their sandwich to a single ounce of sliced meat!

Swap out salty slices by making a large batch of chicken or turkey to use at your convenience throughout the week. You can even buy it pre-cooked at your local grocer.3

Convenience foods

While microwave meals may be quick and easy, they often come at a high sodium price. Add fresh veggies to your frozen meals to boost fiber and potassium.

If cooking on the regular is not an option, dedicate an afternoon to meal planning and meal prepping for the week. Double or triple up on cooking vegetables, grains, and proteins to use on extra busy days. Or look into a low-sodium meal delivery service.

Condiments and marinades

These items are small but mighty when it comes to packing on sodium. Rather than settling for bland meals, add flair to your favorite dishes by relying on Mother Nature’s finest creations.

Experiment with fresh lime or lemon juice or dried herbs and spices to elevate the flavor but not the sodium. Plus, these natural flavor enhancers are high in antioxidants to help combat disease.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ParkinsonsDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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