How to Reduce Salt in Your Diet
Salt is the most abundant compound on Earth and is necessary for life. But too much salt can lead to all kinds of health problems, such as high blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease. So how can you reduce your intake? Here are some easy steps you can take to get started:
Start by replacing processed foods with fresh ones. Processed food contains far more salt than their unprocessed counterparts, but it’s not just about purchasing a quicker way out of making everything from scratch. Make sure you read any food labels before buying something new or picking up an organic grocer item that might be cheaper with less sodium content, like produce.
OUR BODIES ACTUALLY NEED SALT!
Our bodies need salt to survive and function properly. All warm blooded animals must have salt to live. The human brain and spine are in a bath of salt water called cerebrospinal fluid. This salt water circulates throughout the brain and spinal cord. We all spent approximately nine months in our mother’s womb floating in salt water (amniotic fluid). Our tears are salty and we sweat salt. Salt is what makes our bones hard, not the calcium. Twenty-seven percent of our body’s salt is located in our bones. If our body requires more salt, it borrows it from our bones, making the bones thinner, softer and brittle. For so long we have all been told to cut back on salt. But without enough of the right kind of salt, we may do more damage than good!
The everyday salt most people consume is called sodium chloride. This salt is refined and it goes into processed foods and sits on most restaurant tables. Refined means the naturally occurring complex of nutrients is stripped from it and what is left is a toxic chemical that only resembles natural salt in its taste and texture. It is not good for you as it contains no other minerals other than sodium, which leads to an imbalance of salts in your body if you eat it. There are all sorts of important mineral salts and they all need to balance each other out — magnesium, potassium, calcium and so on.
According to David Brownstein’s book ‘Salt: Your Way to Health’, the right kind of salt helps with high blood pressure, adrenal disorders, headaches, immune system problems, fatigue and thyroid disorders. The secret is in the minerals that are found in sea salt and not found in refined salt. The combination of water and salt in the body are needed for metabolism, detoxification, hormonal and nervous function and transportation of nutrients. The right kind of salt is good for us and our body needs it to function!
Toss that refined salt out of your kitchen and switch to natural sea salt. It is an easy switch, tastes the same or even better and by adding it to your food you can make a tremendous difference for your health.
Avoid Salt in your Diet
How to avoid salt in your diet when most of the food you buy in a grocery store is laden with salt. Over 75% of the salt intake today comes from processed foods, bread, cereals, sauces which can cause stroke, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and heart attacks.
Try to limit your intake, at least in the first phase of your low-sodium diet. The American Heart Association suggests limiting food items with sodium content of 400 mg or more per serving to no more than 2,300 mg per day in order to lower your average sodium intake. If you are eating out or on the go, consult not only the menu but also the ingredients listed on the label, if possible.
Use herbs and spices that contain less salt. Spices like oregano and parsley have tons of flavor without any added salt, so try sprinkling some over your dishes instead of using salt or prepared seasonings.
Prepared pizza, pizza pockets, TV dinners, frozen dinners, sausages, soup mixes, canned soups, and prepared sandwiches and crackers are all high in salt or sodium chloride.
The biggest culprit in salty foods are snack foods, processed foods, foods in a boxed, meals to go and any foods prepared in a food factory have high salt content.
The salt is used as a preservative in processed foods to extend shelf life for profits however, this practice is causing hypertension, high blood pressure, and sickness in human health for the public.
Governments have requested food manufacturers to reduce salt as an ingredient however very little change has been initiated.
Salt as a Preservative in Food is Not Healthy
When dieters eat a great amount of these types of food, they are loaded up with salt and weight gain is accelerated. The added side effect is high blood pressure which will require a lifetime of medications to balance, therefore avoiding HBP is always a prevention method.
What Foods to Eat to Avoid Salt
Salty Chips, peanuts, processed sauces, side dishes in a box, and just about any food sold in a cardboard box will contain high amounts of salt. Bacon is also high in salt, ham, salami, processed meat slices, gravy mixes, cheeses, olives, pickled products, and salty fish.
What Foods to Eat to Avoid High Blood Pressure
Fruit, vegetables, whole foods, organic foods, naturally grown foods, unprocessed foods, and food that grows in the ground without chemical additives, preservatives, and pesticides.
Kidney Damage Due to High Salt Diets
Human kidneys cannot handle excess sodium and cause a fluid build-up in the body and especially the bloodstream. Edema or swollen legs, hand or face will be present in a high salt diet and shortness of breath is another side effect to a high salt diet.
Especially in babies, kidney damage is due to high salt in the diet, and adults also will retain water with a high salt diet. Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD will require a managed diet, medical attention, and a change in food choices. If kidney disease progresses, dialysis will be necessary as well as blood pressure drugs for a lifetime. Prevention is much cheaper than these two results of a high salt diet.
Read the Food Labels
How much salt is too much salt? For accuracy read the label of any products you buy in the grocery store. Salt is labeled: Sodium Chloride.
How Much Salt is Safe?
Salt Content of more than: 1.5 grams per 100 grams (0.6 grams sodium) HIGH
Salt Content of less than: 0.3 grams per 100 grams (0.1 grams sodium) is BETTER
Any Food in Between: 0.3 grams and 1.5 grams USE CAUTION
Babies and Children’s Salt Intake
Children should never be fed as much salt as an adult because their bodies are much smaller and their kidneys cannot process excess salt.
Breast Fed Children get enough salt from breast milk which is adequate.
Keep a Food Diary
Keep track of the foods you eat in a Diet Diary will teach you which foods you are eating that you can avoid and which foods you can eliminate to keep your body healthy. This includes all beverages from soft drinks, juices, bottled mineral water to any liquid intake.
Eating in Restaurants
When eating out at any restaurant, ask for low salt or no salt alternatives in your meal choices. Most restaurants used packaged rice mixes, soup mixes, and salty ingredients in their menus. Always ask for alternatives and order fresh organic foods like fruits and vegetables to be included in your food orders when eating out for meals. All fast food outlets will contain high salt menu items that are very high in sodium and rarely do they label the quantity of sodium or fat.