6 tips to reduce your consumption
Many people believe that a diet low in salt (sodium) is only necessary for those who suffer from some special condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) . But they are wrong! Excess sodium in the diet is harmful for everyone, because it can cause serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke (stroke, stroke or stroke) , among others. Keep reading so you learn why abusing salt is not good and what you can do to reduce your consumption.
Julian loves salt. Whenever you sit down at the table, even before you try the food, grab the salt shaker and sprinkle a good dose of salt on your plate. For him, everything lacks flavor and he is not very interested in hearing about the risks of consuming too much salt, because he has heard “out there”, that a diet high in sodium is only harmful for those who suffer from heart disease or who have problems with blood pressure.
How wrong is Julian!
We are not going to say that sodium is not important for the diet, because it is, as long as it is in moderate amounts. Everything with measure. But to understand what this whole story is about with salt, I begin by explaining why sodium is necessary for our organism:
- Helps maintain the balance of fluids in our body
- Participates in the contraction and relaxation of muscles
- Helps to transmit nerve impulses
How much sodium is too much?
The maximum recommended intake is 2,300 milligrams per day or the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt. But in the United States and according to figures provided by the Department of Agriculture, people consume 4,000 milligrams on average daily. What represents too much salt. Precisely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States have recommended that the amount be even lower: 69% of Americans should consume only 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. If you are over 40, have diabetes, have heart problems, are black or have high blood pressure, then that should be your number.
But before giving you some advice on how to reduce the consumption of sodium in your diet, I would like to explain what happens in the body when “your hand goes” with salt.
Why is too much salt harmful?
To have good health, the kidneys are responsible for balancing the amount of sodium in the body. Thus, when sodium levels are low, the kidneys are responsible for managing it well and keep it. In contrast, when there is a lot of sodium in the body, the kidneys expel it through the urine. However, if for some reason the kidneys can not eliminate enough sodium, then, of course, it begins to accumulate in the blood. When this happens, and because sodium retains water, the volume of the blood increases and the heart has to work harder to be able to transport it through the blood vessels. With the increase in the volume of the blood, comes the increase of the pressure on the arteries. And the increase in blood pressure causes other cardiovascular diseases.
Excessive consumption of sodium comes, mostly, from canned foods and from packaged or packaged foods. Take note of these tips to maintain a healthy sodium level .
1. Do not eat so many processed and / or packaged foods. Eat more fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables that are low in sodium by nature.
2. Learn to read well the labels of the food you are going to buy . See if they have a very high percentage of sodium. If so, avoid them. This can serve as a guide:
- If the label says “sodium-free” or “without salt,” it means that it has less than 5 mg. of sodium per serving.
- If it says “very low in sodium” it means that it has 35 mg. or less sodium per serving.
- If it says “low in sodium” it means that it contains 140 mg. or less salt per serving.
- If it says “less sodium” it means 50% less than the original version of the packaged food.
- If it says “without salt” it means that no more salt was added to the product.
3. Do not overdo it with high sodium content condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup or tomato sauce, mustard, etc.
4. In the kitchen, instead of adding too much salt to what you prepare, use herbs, fruits and other spices to season your recipes.
5. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, ask them to prepare your dish without salt or low salt.
6. If you have no choice but to eat canned foods, you can reduce your sodium level by washing them and getting rid of the liquid that preserves them.
It is true that reducing salt consumption is not easy. Especially because due to its excess, the taste buds have become accustomed to its taste and when it is lacking, as it happens to Julian, many people feel that food does not taste at all. But it is not true. Following the advice I gave you and monitoring your daily diet, you can learn to control the amount of salt you consume .