I know many of us check labels for fat, calories, carbs, etc., but are you also checking the sodium levels???  Here are a few statistics I found online, followed by some stuff I'm doing to keep our sodium intake in check:

From internet: 

Sodium is essential for regulating the fluid levels in the body. Along with Potassium and Chloride, it also regulated the levels of acids and bases in bodily fluids and cells, which is essential for the body to continue functioning.

The main source of sodium in most diets is from sodium chloride, also known as salt. Present in most foods and beverages, it is 39% sodium. Processed foods generally have higher levels of sodium. Most people only need about 500mg a day of sodium, yet they consume over 2,500mg.

Too much sodium causes:
  • High blood pressure, raising the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke
  • Water and Potassium to be depleted from cells
On the other hand, not enough sodium causes:
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
Tips for avoiding sodium in your diet:
  • Don't add salt at the table - your craving for salt will go away if you let it!
  • Gradually remove salt from foods you cook.
  • Pick up a low-sodium cookbook. Several are available, and shouldn't be hard to track down.
  • Stay away from processed foods; they tend to use sodium as a flavoring agent.
  • Stay away from fast-food restaurants; salt and fast-food go hand in hand.

My thoughts and tips:

- Yes, salt is yummy! :)  However, if you GRADUALLY reduce (not remove) your intake you will be better off in the long run, not to mention your loved ones!  I've even read about too much sodium causing loss of calcium, so this is important for bone health too. 

- My opinion and goal is to start off with no or low sodium and then flavor it myself.  There are many herbs and seasonings out there that you can use in place of salt or along with a little salt.

- CHECK LABELS at the grocery store, especially with processed foods.  Be careful to factor in portions too, because I know we often eat more than the portion size listed, so the content info on ANYTHING would have to be recalculated.  I am often SHOCKED at the levels of some of the foods that I used to eat all the time, especially boxed and canned convenience foods.

- No Salt Added canned veggies are available in almost every variety.  Food makers are also starting to make a lot of reduced sodium stuff, so that's good too. 

- I've read about excess sodium causing weight gain, but it's only water weight so not the best weight loss solution.  You will slim down a bit though if you reduce your sodium for a few days :) and you'll feel less bloated.  If you DO eat too much sodium, always make sure you drink LOTS and LOTS of water to counteract some of it.

- Go online and check fast food sodium contents!  It's scary!  Even Subway girls!!!  Processed meats and deli meats and cheeses are often high in sodium, but there are varieties available with reduced amounts :) 

- Although I'm not obsessed with sodium, it is definitely a concern of mine in my journey to living healthy :)

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Comments:

aafly...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 10:36 AM I am a salt addict...can't help it..I am trying to cut down..but it is HARD

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Mommy...
Jun. 2, 2008 at 1:24 PM I like to flavor foods with flavorful spices like garlic, oregano and chilli powder. I prefer to substitute spicey for salty. Its better for you and the extra spice is supposed to help clear your sinuses and raise metabolism. :)

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Ms.Ta...
Jun. 4, 2008 at 2:32 AM Yup I always read the lables. When They put me in the learn and fit program after I had my first baby because I wasn't losing weight fast enough. I learned how to cook with little to no salt. I use a lot of mrs. dash products as well as not using a lot of processed foods.  When I research for new recipies I also look at the lables and see how I can tweak it to make it my own and healthy for my family.  :)

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gusti...
Jun. 4, 2008 at 2:36 AM i have to read my labels as aheart and kidney patient

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