“Salt is flavour” is a common statement – but is sodium (salt) helpful for our health?
Sodium is an important electrolyte for healthy heart and nerve function. However, nutritious fresh foods like bread, cereals, meat and dairy products contain our required sodium intake so there is no need to add extra salt during cooking or at the table.
We want to aim for less than 2300mg of sodium (1 teaspoon of salt) each day. Depending on your personal medical and nutrition advice, you may need less sodium.
Our kidneys monitor and control the amount of sodium in our blood. When we eat too much salt, our kidneys work harder and this can increase blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease or if your body is holding extra fluid (as a result of heart failure, kidney or liver disease for example), it may be more important to limit your salt intake.
There are 2 easy and simple ways to reduce the amount of sodium in your eating pattern
1. Choose low salt foods
Most of our sodium (around 75%) comes from processed foods so focus on eating more wholesome foods which are naturally low in sodium like fruits and vegies.
Choose foods labeled “low salt” or “no added salt” like tinned beans and legumes, vegetables and soups.
“Reduced salt” does not necessarily mean “low salt” so to make the healthiest purchase, always check the nutrition labels and aim for less than 150mg per 100g. Don’t know how to read the labels? Come along to a supermarket tour!
2. Do not add salt at the table or in cooking
Some other flavoursome examples
· Freshly ground pepper, dry mustard powder
· Lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar
· Dried herbs
· Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, sage, tarragon
· Garlic, curry, chilli, onion, fresh ginger, spring onions
· Spices like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom
As always, if you will like to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet for healthy heart or kidney function, please make an appointment with me to improve your health through good food.