Healthy Lifestyles: Sodium, Salt, Is It Worth a Pound of...?
by Paul Blustein
This week, we are going to focus on another mineral that can be overused on the dinner table, which is salt. You all have heard of the expression, "What he said wasn't worth the salt!" What you will see here today will be worth a lot more than a pound of salt. Your health can be at risk if you put salt on your foods at the dinner table even before you taste what is in front of you.
Salt is a major factor in our lives. Most people get far more sodium than they need. Our bodies need only 500 milligrams of sodium each day. Anything more than 2500 mg of sodium is stretching it a little and is also putting you at risk. For some people, excess sodium causes high blood pressure. If you are not sodium-sensitive, salt may not be a problem for you. But you should still be very careful of the amount of salt you take in.
Salt is the most familiar source of sodium. About 40 percent of salt is pure sodium. Sodium is also hidden in foods that don't taste salty, such as cheddar cheese and processed foods. Sodium is also a major ingredient of monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate, and baking powder. Many folks, including myself, have difficulties digesting MSG.
If you want to control the amount of salt that you take in daily, or if your doctor mentions to you that you need to cut down on your sodium intake, check these suggestions out, and follow them.
- Beware of ready-mixed sauces and seasonings, frozen dinners, canned soups, and salad dressings, which are usually jam-packed with sodium. Products labeled "Low sodium" contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
- Eat lots of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. These foods have very little sodium.
- Don't put the salt shaker on the dinner table. If you have to have the salt shaker on the table, get a shaker that lets very little salt come out. Or, try using a Lite Salt or salt substitute sparingly. We have a weight loss tip today that includes a salt substitute. Make sure you read it!
- Finally, always measure the salt in recipes and use half of what is called for. Try not to lose touch with the wonderful smell and taste of the original flavor of the foods you eat. Too much salt will make foods taste salty, and you will lose the original flavor that was intended.
If we all taste before we tip that salt shaker, it could be the TIP that may improve your overall health!
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