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7. Limit your salt intake

A bowl of herbs.

A closer look at the recommendations for reducing your overall cancer risk

  • Limit salt-preserved, salted and salty foods; preserve foods without using salt
  • Limit salt-processed food intake

Why limit salt?

High salt intake may damage the stomach lining and increase stomach cancer risk.

How much salt do you need?

Health Canada recommends that adults need 2,300mg of sodium per day. Since most non-processed foods contain some salt naturally, we can easily meet our sodium needs by eating a healthy diet rich in plant foods.
Most Canadians eat too much salt daily. Canada's Food Guide recommends choosing foods that are lower in sodium and prepared foods that contain little or no added salt.

How can you reduce your salt intake?

  • Prepare meals at home so you can control the amount of salt added during and after cooking
  • Choose fresh foods (fruits, vegetables) more often than packaged convenience foods that are high in sodium
  • Limit salty foods and foods preserved in salt, such as canned soups, deli meats, and packaged snack foods
  • Look for these words on food labels:
    • "Salt-free" (less than 5 mg of sodium per serving)
    • "Low in sodium" (140 mg of sodium or less per serving)
    • "Reduced in sodium" (at least 25 percent less than the regular product)
  • Use herbs (basil, bay leaves, thyme) and spices (black pepper, chili and curry powder, vinegar, fresh ginger, garlic and lemon juice) instead of salt
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Panel to compare serving sizes and select foods that are lower in sodium per serving
  • Put away the salt shaker
  • When eating out, ask for nutrition information so you can choose lower salt meals
  • Ask for dressings and sauces 'on the side', so you can control how much you eat

For a list of surprisingly high-sodium foods, and how to limit them in your diet, visit Sunnybrook Clinical Nutrition's healthy living resources on sodium reduction.