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It looks like Mother Nature will smile upon Western New York this weekend – just in time for the official opening of summer barbecue season.

As you fire up the grill, look to skip the salty seasonings, marinades and processed meats.

Excessive salt intake contributes to heart attack and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.

“Daily intake of 2,400 milligrams of sodium, about a teaspoon of salt, is fine,” said Dr. Steven Dina, Univera Healthcare medical director, in a news release. “Unfortunately, Americans are eating 50 percent more than they need, mostly by consuming processed foods purchased in grocery stores, or consumed in restaurants.”

Salt is an acquired taste that can be unlearned in two months or less, Dina said. “Once it’s done, people notice that processed foods taste way too salty.”

He offered the following tips to reduce sodium in your diet:

1. Always read food labels to check the sodium content.

2. Compare various brands of the same food item until you find the one with the least sodium.

3. Beware of products that don’t taste salty but still have high sodium content, such as cottage cheese.

4. Use fresh, rather than packaged, meats.

5. Choose fresh fruit and vegetables.

6. When buying frozen vegetables, choose those labeled “fresh frozen.”

7. Select spices or seasonings that don’t include sodium, like garlic powder instead of garlic salt.

8. At a restaurant, ask if the dish you ordered can be prepared without salt.