Reducing your daily salt, or sodium, intake can be extremely beneficial for your health. There are many simple and easy ways to reduce your salt consumption. Read on for the truth about salt and sodium.
The consumption of too much salt, or sodium, has long been associated with health issues such as high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney disease, heart disease, fluid retention (edema), stomach cancer, stroke, and osteoporosis. Seen enough to think about reducing your salt intake?
How much salt should you be consuming?
For most people, the answer to this question is very simple, less than you are now. Most American health authorities are currently advising that the average adult should be consuming less than 6 grams of salt per day. This is equivalent to 1 (one) teaspoon of table salt, or 2.4 grams of sodium. Medical research has shown that those adults with high blood pressure will respond better to their medications if they keep their salt intake to less than 1.5 grams of sodium. Babies and children require varying amounts, and it is best to check with your medical practitioner.
An important point to consider is that your body does need a little salt to maintain your body fluids and blood chemistry to satisfactory levels.
Foods that are high in salt content.
Processed foods tend to contain very high levels of salt. Fresh foods have small amounts of naturally occurring salt. Smoked and cured meats also have a high salt content. Fast foods are another culprit for the high salt content. Some sauces, breads, breakfast cereals, and pastas can also contain more salt than you would expect. Soy sauce and ketchup can both contain high levels of salt.
Easy ways to reduce your salt intake.
There are many simple ways to dramatically reduce your salt intake:
* stop adding salt to your cooking.
* buy low salt substitutes.
* check the labels before purchasing. The same product’s salt level can fluctuate dramatically between brands.
* select fresh vegetables over tinned.
* when using canned anything, rinse under the tap before using.
* be wary of salad dressings, frozen meals, and canned soup. These products can all be laden with salt.
* select fresh meat over cured, smoked or processed. (For example bacon, salami, and sausages all have very high salt content.)
* substitute salt with herbs and spices to increase the flavor of foods.
* remember, sea salt, kosher salt, garlic salt, and celery salt are all still salt.
* reduce the amount of fast foods that you are eating.
* Swiss, mozzarella, cottage, and ricotta cheeses all contain substantially less salt than other cheeses.
The addition of fresh herbs and spices, along with garlic, and lemon juice will add flavor to your meals. Slowly start reducing the amount of salt you cook with and add to your meal, until you are down to nothing. If you do this gradually, you will not notice the difference.
Whilst salt is an essential requirement for our bodies, most of us are consuming far more than is good for us. Excess salt consumption is linked to many health issues. Minimize your salt intake and maximize your health.