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Reduce your Sodium Intake… with Pulses too!

Both the US and Canadian governments have recently been evaluating research on the effects of elevated sodium intake on human health and have reported the need to drastically cut back intake levels. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for sodium is now set at 1,500mg with an upper limit of 2,300mg (1 teaspoon). This recommendation is a challenge for most as many North Americans consume 1½ times this upper limit daily, putting them at risk for hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Choosing more unprocessed foods to eat or prepare at home in place of prepackaged, convenience foods is a way to lower your sodium intake. Cooking pulses from dry seeds allows the consumer to decide how much sodium to add. If no salt is added to the cooking water, pulses are in fact considered sodium-free! In the case of canned pulses, sodium is added during the canning process to preserve the integrity and appeal of the pulses. However, consumers can lower the sodium content by almost half if they simply rinse and drain the pulses in a strainer prior to consuming as shown in the figure to the right.