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I love you salt, but you’re breaking my heart

Even if you don’t use the salt shaker, you’re probably getting too much sodium. More than 75 percent of the sodium we eat is from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. One solution is to try to eat more fresh vegetables, instead of canned or frozen. At this time of year, fresh green beans, tomatoes and sweet corn are available in stores, farmer’s markets, and maybe from your own back yard.

Once vegetable gardens are finished for the season, you can continue reducing the sodium you eat by comparing labels of similar products and choosing the one with less sodium. Typically, frozen items have less salt than canned, but do check the labels.

Try preparing food with less salt than you normally would. Over time, your taste buds can adjust to prefer less salt. Research has shown that when people eat a lower-sodium diet over time, they begin to prefer unsalty foods and the foods they used to like now taste too salty. One family realized they automatically salted everything on their plate before even tasting it. They cut down on sodium intake by putting an empty salt shaker on the table. Out of habit, they’d grab the empty shaker, shake it over their plate and then begin eating. They were surprised to find that the food tasted just fine without that last extra salting.

Pepper and other spices, herbs, citrus juices and vinegars can give your food a little kick without increasing your sodium intake. Watch the labels on these, too. You may be surprised by how much sodium there is in catsup or your favorite dry seasoning mix.

What’s so bad about salt? Studies link excess sodium intake to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.