What can you eat on a low sodium diet?. We all love the zingy kick a savory dish brings to the pallet.
The dance of hearty flavors on top of a basic salty foundation is the cornerstone of any decent full meal.
Leave the sweets for after the salty right?
Well, we all know that too much sugar is bad, but we’re sure you’re probably aware that the same can be said about salt.
But it's not just salt per se that's bad in excess. It's a component of salt you need to be careful of.
Salt is known by the chemical name sodium chloride, and it's the sodium we’re going to look at.
What is Sodium?
Sodium is an essential mineral in your body.
So don't get it twisted, all the talk we will be doing about lowering sodium has nothing to do with it being bad for you.
It's all about too much of a good thing in this case.
That's because sodium is one of the mineral salts that form the group known as electrolytes.
These charged molecules help deliver electrical signals to cells and through nerve impulses and also regulate the water balance in your cells.
Without electrolytes, we would fall apart and cramp up. Sodium is one of them, so we need it.
But it is only useful in the right quantities and balance in relation to water and other minerals.
Our modern diets, unfortunately, tend to emphasize an excess in salt, which generally tips the scale towards excess sodium levels.
What Happens When We Get Too Much?
When we get too much sodium, our water balance goes out of whack.
What can you eat on a low sodium diet? that's because all the available water now has to contend with a concentration gradient that draws water out of cells and tissues in order to create an equilibrium.
This basically gives off the same effect as dehydration.
Through this, excess sodium can cause hypertension (high blood pressure) and all associated risks such as heart disease and stroke go up.
Excess sodium also puts a strain on the kidneys if it goes unchecked.
This article will aim to help you achieve healthy sodium levels through mindful dietary practice and insight into some aspects of nutrition that may be leading to too much salt.
Top Tips on Reducing Dietary Sodium
Drink More Water
As we pointed out, what can you eat on a low sodium diet? the effect excess sodium can have on water balance can mean you experience symptoms of dehydration.
What's the best way to curb dehydration? Bingo, drinking more water.
By drinking more water, you’re simply bringing the water balance back to normal.
So while this isn’t exactly a way of lowering sodium itself, it has the same effect and value.
Besides, you need water, you’re mostly made of it, might as well drink up.
Use Sodium Alternatives
Another great way to limit sodium intake to a healthy normal is to use alternatives.
You can actually use a potassium-based salt instead of the typical sodium-based table salt for example.
Aside from this, being creative with the seasoning of your food can reduce the reliance on needing salt for taste reasons.
A well thought out recipe can reduce the amount of salt needed to give it that rounded savory taste profile.
Always try and educate yourself on the different foods you eat, especially those you eat on a regular basis.
You should aim to consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day.
Reading food packaging labels and checking for sodium content is a great start.
Familiarise yourself with more than just the calorie value on the label and check for salt and sodium.
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More Whole Foods
Salt is abundant in processed food. That's for two major reasons.
The first is because it improves the flavor profile, which means satisfied customers, which translates into repeat business and better profits.
The second is because its a cheap and abundant preservative, which means food stays on shelves longer for cheaper, which means more people buy it, which translates into better profits.
So actually, it's all about profit, of course. But if you want to avoid the clutches of capitalism and how they pour extreme amounts of sodium down your throat, try to add more whole or minimally processed foods into your shopping cart.
Most wholefoods don’t contain an excess sodium level, especially fruits and leafy greens.
Get More Electrolytes
Sodium is a mineral salt, which means it forms part of the group of mineral ions called electrolytes.
These minerals function best when there's a balanced quantity of each. The others include:
Rebalancing your electrolyte levels against excess sodium is a good way to limit the effects of excess sodium.
Just as with drinking more water, this method doesn't lower sodium content but rather counters the effects of excess sodium.
You can get your electrolyte fix through supplements, sports drinks or foods such as watermelons, avocados, bananas, and coconut water.
Sodium excess is a real problem in america. What can you eat on a low sodium diet?, the average daily consumption is way above the healthy normal for non-hypertensive adults.
This is an average of 3400 mg/day against a recommended 2300 mg/day.
This means sodium is a significant risk factor in heart disease.
We hope these tips help guide you to a more mindful approach when it comes to sodium.
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