Monday, April 22, 2013

Tips to Reduce Sodium In Your Diet

The average adult requires approximately 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day in their diet. Unfortunately, the average adult consumes far more than that amount. Sodium is hidden in many foods and many don't realize how bad sodium is for health and even worst, most of us don't realized we are eating it.

What Exactly Is Sodium?

Sodium is a naturally occurring mineral. Although salt and sodium aren't the exact same thing, salt is made from sodium chloride and makes our foods taste salty or "normal". 

Where Sodium Is Hidden

Sodium is hidden in many foods that we consume and we're so used to eating it that we don't even notice that it's in there. Consider canned foods, prepared or packaged foods, frozen foods and snack foods. 

I use to by tons of frozen foods in the past, in fact that was the only thing I was buying until I realized that frozen foods have a ton of sodium. Next time you go to the groceries read the nutritional facts and look for the percent of sodium per serving.

How Can I Buy Foods That Aren't Heavy In Sodium?

Fresh and frozen foods are great ways to find foods that aren't heavy in sodium. Read the labels and see if any salt is added. Reduced sodium foods are also available. Many canned foods come in "no salt" versions as well. 

Lean fresh meats are preferable over canned or processed types of meats for sodium content. Fresh meats shouldn't have any sodium added. Avoid deli style meats and cheeses as part of the processing for these items is to add sodium.

What Are Some Reasons Sodium Is Bad For Me?

Sodium can raise blood pressure and cause a person to retain water. Normally our kidney's regulate the sodium in our system but if for some reason they aren't functioning properly this can get out of control and cause fluid retention and high blood pressure. Many people are on diuretics and blood pressure pills for this reason.

How Can I Flavor My Food Without Salt?

This is probably the most common question for someone who has just learned they have high blood pressure or severe fluid retention. The answer is to take advantage of lots of other herbs and spices. A few favorites are lemon seasonings, lime seasonings, chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt free seasonings, salt free herb seasonings and fresh cut from the garden herbs or spices. I actually recently found salt reduced in sodium too so you can give that a try.

Many people will create their own seasoning mix using a few of the above suggestions. Once the taste buds adjust to the missing component of salt, the foods actually begin to taste as they should and the persons blood pressure will lower and less fluids will be retained in the body.

What Happens if I cut Back On The Salt In Recipes?

Many cooks have begun using recipes without salt added. Many others have chosen to use half the amount of salt called for in a recipe. There is little difference in the overall results of a recipe if the salt is halved or left out entirely. Consider cooking pasta without adding salt, instant cereals without adding salt and use less salty versions of your favorite broths when cooking. 

The truth is that the average adult requires no more than 1 teaspoonful of sodium in their diet per day. That teaspoonful should be spread out over the entire day's eating.

TIP: Read the nutritional facts of the products you buy. Many companies try to trick you because when you read the nutritional table you see a low percent in sodium but always read the amount per serving, that is super important to check.

I hope you enjoy this article and start reducing sodium in your diet. You can also read more about the dangers of sodium at ABC news.

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