Healthy Diet and Sodium
Better known as salt and it is an alkaline mineral whose chemical short form is Na. It is an essential element in the human body, needed for maintaining the correct balance of acidity and alkalinity and for regulating the volume of fluids.
Salt can effect blood pressure particularly in salt sensitive people.Because,since salt cannot be stored in the body without the right amount of water, it retains water to accommodate sodium levels. Unless the over supply is excreted, the fluid volume in the blood vessels will rise with the sodium levels. The result may be high blood pressure. One in five people have high blood pressure and half these people are salt sensitive. Check with your doctor for high blood pressure and to see if you are salt sensitive.
Nutrition experts cannot really agree on the ideal amount of salt to be taken daily. Their range goes from 500 to 5,000 mg. per day. The average adult male consumes about 10,000 mg. daily, while some women consume about 9,000 mg. daily. The most agreed upon amount is about 2,000 mg. daily. Anything over that and you will begin to retain water and sodium can hold up to 50 times its weight in water.
Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of sodium while meats, fish and shellfish contain higher amounts. The more processed, preserved, pickled or carbonated an item is, the more sodium it is bound to contain.
In certain people excessive amounts of sodium has been linked to water retention, swelling, weight gain, high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease. This does not mean to eliminate salt in your diet, because that could lead to severe health problems such as: cramping, decrease resistance to infection, eye disturbances, fatigue, loss of taste, poor memory and circulation, prolonged wound healing, splitting hairs and white spots on nails.
Do not try to change your sodium habits overnight. Keep track of your daily intake and gradually reduce to the recommended amounts.
Here are some tips to reduce sodium
- read the food labels before buying (Na or NaCl).
- do not add salt without tasting and then add sparingly .
- use lemons, garlic, pepper, caraway, anything low in sodium as a flavor substitute .
- reduce your use of prepared condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, olives and pickles.
- cut back on cured meats (ham, bacon, salami, bologna, wieners ).
- stay clear of salty fish (lox, herring, dried cod, sardines).
- cut back on baked goods containing baking powder.
- watch the amount of pop and club soda you drink.
- avoid salted crackers, tinned nuts, pretzels and potato chips.
- avoid the saltier cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola and highly processed cheese spreads, dips and whipped dessert toppings.