Get To Know Sodium
Sodium is a mineral that is needed for proper functioning of the human body. This mineral is a part of salt, and if not present in the body can cause health problems. Sodium helps balance the fluids present in the body.
Sodium occurs naturally in foods, so when you add extra salt to a meal you are increasing your sodium intake. An excess of sodium can contribute to health problems such as kidney disease, heart attack, and stroke. Blood pressure is sensitive to sodium intake which is why people with high blood pressure should carefully monitor their sodium intake.
How Much Do I Need?
The minimum required dose of sodium is 400 milligrams. This is based on natural conditions and intake, not extra salting of food. 400 milligrams is equal to less than ¼ teaspoon of salt, basically a pinch! Not very much, hm?
So many people have become accustomed to buying pre-packaged convenience foods without realizing most of these foods are packed with sodium. Our taste buds have become accustomed to the flavors associated with extra salt, so foods may taste bland if salt is eliminated. Processed foods have spoiled us, leading to the avoidance of natural tastes in a well cooked meal. We are consuming more salt today than ever, even with all of the so-called healthy choices available in the grocery stores.
Spice It Up!
Instead of adding salt to the foods you cook, try tossing in other herbs and spices. Fresh herbs and spice mills give a punch without the extra sodium. Instead of buying commercially blended spices for your food, try mixing your own. Montreal Steak Seasoning is delicious, but has a large amount of salt. Mix your own with half as much or maybe with none at all!
Low-Salt Montreal Steak Seasoning (great for chicken, too)
*2 tablespoons paprika
*2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
*½ tablespoon coarse sea salt
*1 tablespoon garlic powder
*1 tablespoon onion powder
*1 tablespoon coriander, ground/crushed (coarse)
*1 tablespoon dill
*1 tablespoon red pepper flakes ,crush well
Mix all ingredients and keep in a sealed container away from heat or light.
Items To Watch
Everyday foods have sodium, some might surprise you. Many vegetables and fruit have between 1 and 2 milligrams of sodium. Good examples are: apples-2mg, corn(1 ear)-1 mg, lemon-1 mg. I bet you never thought these fresh foods would contain sodium!
Processed foods have far more sodium, though. Those tasty apple pies from a fast food restaurant? 400 mg of sodium compared to a large slice of homemade apple pie which only has half the sodium! Your breakfast cereal? 1 cup of plain corn flakes contains 256 mg of sodium. Yikes.
When shopping, choose carefully among the pre-packaged foods. Check the nutrition labels for sodium per serving size, then adjust your eating plan to use only the serving suggested. If you are eating a food high in sodium, balance that the rest of the day with low or no salt foods.
Be careful with your sodium intake, it can change your health!