Know Your Sodium Myths & Facts
Did you know that 30% of Americans are currently living with the silent disease high blood pressure? In fact, half of those with high blood pressure do not have it under control and 30% of people with it do not even know they have it! Even if you do not have high blood pressure, most people are consuming way too much sodium. While it may not present itself as a problem today, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease, and once you have high blood pressure, you are at increased risk of heart failure, stroke, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Get your facts straight about sodium so that you make sure you are on the right path to a healthy life!
Myth: You can tell what foods are high in sodium because they taste salty.
Many times, when I am conducting a taste test, people think that their sugary cereal has minimal sodium. When comparing products, most people get it wrong. The same can be said about the amounts of added sugar. You cannot always taste the sodium found in products.
Did you know that sodium is commonly used as a preservative? Sodium helps preserve foods because it can kill off many harmful bacteria. When a food item is concentrated with sodium, certain bacteria are unable to thrive, allowing perishable foods to last longer (as long as they are refrigerated).
Sodium also allows the taste and quality to last longer, improving a product’s overall shelf-life. Check out the packaging of any processed foods, such as cereals, crackers, breads, or chips. Many people are surprised when they read the labels. Your sugary cereals are likely loaded with sodium. If you are reading the nutrition facts table, make sure that your total snack has less than 200 milligrams (mg) of sodium and that your total meal has less than 400 mg to 500 mg of sodium.
The worst types of foods include processed foods, such as pizzas, deli meats, soups, sauces, and cheese.
Fact: Most of the foods we eat contain too much sodium.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that thrives on convenient and quick meals and snacks. That means higher consumption of processed foods and lower consumption of homemade meals.
Ready-to-eat meals and snacks are loaded with ridiculous amounts of sodium. A single meal may even contain more than your recommended daily intake (RDI). Not only is sodium used for flavoring, but it is also used as a preservative. Unfortunately, this is the reason why people’s sodium intakes are through the roof, resulting in high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease.
Your best bet is to consume whole foods and to be in control of your food preparation. Cooking can be quick, easy, fun, and tasty, but most importantly, it is almost always more healthful. You are in control of what goes into your dishes.
Myth: Food does not taste good without salt.
You would be surprised by the many ways in which you can add flavor to your dishes without reaching for that salt shaker. The vast variety of herbs and spices make your choices limitless. If you want something sweeter, consider using cinnamon or vanilla, and for spiciness, use chili powder or cayenne pepper. Try pepper or garlic instead of salt; just be careful to refrain from garlic salts, as these are just as high in sodium as regular salt.
Herbs also add a nice array of flavors and can give your dishes a potent kick by using a small number of dry ones or by using freshly chopped herbs. Do not be afraid to experiment. You will be pleasantly surprised as to how these flavors can make your mouth water.
You have heard me preach about TUMERIC.
Fact: Eating too much sodium can be harmful to your health.
About 20% of adults have high blood pressure and almost 30% of those cases are as a result of too much sodium! People are consuming more than 3,400 mg of sodium daily. The recommended intake for sodium is about 1,500 mg with a maximum amount of no more than 2,300 mg daily. That means that most people are consuming more than 1,000 mg above the maximum recommended levels.
Consuming such high levels of sodium can lead to several health complications, such as high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, it can be detrimental to your kidneys—especially for people with diabetes.
Myth: I don’t have high blood pressure, so I don’t need to watch my salt intake.
You always need to be ahead of the game when it comes to your health. It is important to make sure that you have a healthful, balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy in order to prevent many debilitating diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is just as important to watch your salt intake to prevent high blood pressure and any health ailments that may come your way as a result of not taking preventative care of yourself.
It is easy to not have to worry about things while you are healthy, but that is the most important time to stay on top of it all. You want to maintain that health; therefore, you want to ensure that you watch your eating habits and participate in regular physical activity in order to prevent your health from deteriorating.
Fact: Kosher salt, sea salt, gourmet salt and smoked salt all have about the same amount of sodium as table salt.
Many people seem to think that one kind of salt is healthier than the other. To be honest, it is all about your own taste preferences. They all contain similar amounts of sodium, provide the same nutrients, perform the same functions, and can have the same effects on your health. Do not let anyone try to convince you otherwise.
Iodized salt is a must to have. It is the only food that is iodized and this is important for normal thyroid function!
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