We all consume sodium on a daily basis. There is not one single person who can determine that the consumption of sodium is in fact a bad thing. We all know that our bodies require sodium to maintain water levels, blood volume and mineral balances. There is however the good old saying that “too much of any one thing is good for nothing.” Scientists and Nutritionists have successfully determined that too much sodium content within the human body has several undesirable effects on a person’s health including, increased blood pressure resulting in hypertension and a vast amount of complications like increased risk of heart diseases and stroke. It has been determined that the average person needs just under 1,500 milligrams of sodium to meet our body’s daily needs and as a result it has been recommended that adults should not consume over 2,300 milligrams of salt on a daily basis which is equivalent to just 1 teaspoon of salt.
Salt is naturally found in almost every known food consumed including nuts, grains, meat products and dairy foods. It is imperative to note that salt and sodium are two different compounds. Salt is a direct result in the combination of two elements, Sodium and Chlorine and sodium on the other hand is one element that is generally hidden within processed foods and accounts for the larger portion of sodium content adults have been found to consume. This is in addition to added salt purchased at your local supermarket. So taking measures to lower your sodium intake can have an array of health benefits.
By cutting back on your sodium content you can effectively reduce the risks of increased blood pressure and its associated complications. The task is never an easy one as many have become so accustomed to the natural taste of salty foods that a more guided approach has to be implemented to limit your daily consumption.
The following are some short tips to reduce your daily sodium intake:
• Use herbs & spices – Use natural flavors in the form of herbs and spices including oregano, pepper, thyme, sesame, and garlic. These natural spices will add a distinctive flavor to enhance the natural food taste without the addition of sodium. However if your recipe requires the addition of salt, then it is recommended that you reduce the required amount by half.
• Ditch your Salt Shaker – leave your salt shaker off of the dinner table. Place it in a cabinet for occasional use only. Since most foods already contain sodium there is no need to add extra on your plate. Your taste buds will readjust to the lower sodium taste and in turn you will start to notice the difference if you eat a dish that is too high in salt as it will not be palatable.
• Read Your Labels – Carefully examine food ingredients for specific products at your local grocery store by reading and comparing the labels for similar products taking care to choose the product with the less sodium content.
• Don’t think low fat means low sodium – Do not be misled by the concept, low-calorie and low-fat means healthy foods. Such foods have often been found to be extremely high in their sodium content as most manufacturers in this case will use sodium as a taste enhancer to supplement the natural flavor existing from the extracted fat content. Such has been the case especially in frozen dinners which studies have revealed to be rich in sodium content.
• Check for low/ no sodium products – When purchasing your favorite meals or any type of processed food, always go for the low sodium, no sodium, and reduced sodium versions.
• Go Fresh – When purchasing vegetables, it is best to opt for fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned as most companies have implemented the addition of sodium as a preservative to increase the product’s shelf life and as such it is almost impossible to find a low or reduced sodium canned product.
These are just a basic guidelines for you to follow that are guaranteed to lower your sodium intake to increase your health and return your body to it’s full potential.