Don’t Risk These Sodium Scares
January 12th, 2012 by Ingrid Macher
If you’re like most people, you are getting way more sodium than your body needs. Many of us think that by controlling the amount of salt we eat, we can control our sodium intake. Truth is, it’s not that easy.
Just because you add a pinch of salt on your veggies and a dash of salt to your potato, it can often add up to a lot. A little bit of salt here and there end up being more than your daily intake should be. And all of that is still an addition to all of the salt in processed foods and already prepared foods in restaurants and friends house.
How Much Sodium Should You Take?
Most doctors recommend less than 2,300 mg per day for the average healthy adult, but it needs to be way less for anyone over 51, anyone with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes.
Although this is the max amount doctors want you to consume of sodium, you should try to keep it lower.
Where Do You Get Sodium?
While meats and Shellfish aren’t loaded with sodium, they do contribute to some of your daily intake. A lot of people think that because you don’t add salt to your meat that there isn’t any sodium in it, but that’s a false conclusion. Meat and shellfish naturally contain sodium, as well as milk. As I said earlier, processed food contain a ton of salt and sodium additives.
As a matter of fact, most of the average Americans intake of sodium comes from prepared food and processed foods. If you can get in from a box or package, it’s considered a processed food for sure, such as pizza, pastas, bacon, deli meats, cheese, and most of all, fast food.
And the final main source of salt comes from your table. Condiments and dressings are loaded with sodium as most recipes call for at least a teaspoon of salt, most of the time even more. I mean can we say soy sauce? Holy cow, that stuff is just oozing sodium.
Does Your Body Need Sodium?
Yes, sodium helps your body maintain the correct levels of fluids. Kidneys especially work well with sodium. For instance, when your body is running low on sodium, your kidneys preserve the little sodium you have. When you have high levels of sodium, it’s your kidneys that dispose of it through urine.
The problem lies in the fact that if your kidneys can’t control the sodium, for whatever reason, maybe you have too much, the sodium begins to disperse to your blood. Once the sodium is in your blood, it begins to build up in the arteries leading to heart problems and ultimately heart failure.
So to the question, yes, your body needs salt. Just make sure you aren’t getting to much and you consult your doctor if you feel you sodium levels are too high.
I strongly suggest that if you haven’t already, you should cut down your sodium intake. While you’re at it, try to help your family wine off salt too. Try using other herbs and seasonings to flavor your food such as rosemary, thyme, garlic, chopped onion, pepper, and dill weed. All add great taste and help you lean away from salt.
Also try to eat out less and make your own fresh food. When you cook your own food, there’s know mystery as to what’s in it.