Ways to lower your salt intake

HOUSTON – Almost everyone has too much salt in their diet. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease and stroke.

The recommended maximum is 2,300 milligrams, but most Americans consume an average of 3,400 milligrams per day.

On average, a frozen meal will have more than 1,000 milligrams of salt.

Nurse practitioner, Jouvanna Gray, of Get Well Walk-In Clinic, said you can still eat packaged foods just make sure to check the label. You want to get pre-made meals that are sodium-free or low in sodium.

Gray said it will also help to stay hydrated since salt will do the opposite.

“It definitely will dehydrate you, so you want to increase your water and limit the sodium," Gray said. "You don't want the dehydration and sometimes the dehydration will give you a false sense of hunger.”

Then, the vicious cycle begins: false sense of hunger can lead back to more salty foods.

“Now, the body thinks you’re thirsty again and instead of getting a cup of water or bottle of water, we go and get something to eat," Gray said. "So this is a cycle you want to limit. Cooking your own food and being in control of the amount of sodium you put in the food will really help."

Cooking meals from scratch is the best way to know how much sodium is in your food but since salt is a natural preservative, even canned or frozen vegetables are loaded with sodium. So, Gray said to rinse them.

“You definitely want to rinse it and get rid of some of that sodium because they have to have artificial additives to give it a shelf life so if you rinse it off ... it will actually be a little bit more natural.”

You could be also adding a lot of sodium eating meals that can seem healthy.

Watch out for dressings in salads or sauces that you put on foods because they are usually filled with sodium.  When eating out, check out the menu before choosing the restaurant and it's worth a try to ask the server for the meal to be made with no salt added.