What should be your daily salt intake?
The American Heart Association suggests not more than 2300 milligrams of salt per day (1 teaspoon of salt). Nevertheless, the ideal limit is 1500 milligrams per day. Most of us eat more than the suggested limit. Reducing salt intake to be within suggested levels belongs on a well balanced and healthy diet plan.
Why does salt need to be limited?
The kidneys flush the excess by making more urine when there is more salt than needed by the body. When kidneys are not able to eliminate the excess sodium it builds up in fluid in between the cells. Salt pulls additional water and increases the volume of the fluid and blood.
As the blood volume increases the heart needs to work harder and likewise puts a pressure on the blood vessels. Over a period of time this can stiffen the capillary causing high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Hypertension can also harm the kidneys resulting in kidney failure over a period of time.
One in three adult Indians struggle with high blood pressure today, and even kids can develop it. An inactive way of life with little or no exercise coupled with unhealthy eating patterns are major contributors for hypertension. Many people today are unaware that they experience hypertension (a consistently raised blood pressure 130/80 mm of Hg).
How do I reduce salt intake?
Avoid processed and packaged foods: Canned, processed, and frozen foods contain high quantity of salt in them. Avoid sauces, pickles, mayonnaise, all set to consume soups, canned veggies, processed cheese and breads as these foods contain hidden sodium in them.
Hence, make it a habit to check out the nutritional labels when purchasing the food to avoid the high salt consumption.
Cooking: While preparing your the food use onions, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices, vinegar in place of extra salt to boost the taste. Avoid usage of salt while cooking rice, rotis, parathas, pasta and so on. Barbecuing, sautéing, and roasting cooking strategies draw out the natural flavor of the food and hence will decrease the need to include salt.
Another way to reduce salt intake is to be mindful of what you order at restaurants. At dining establishments ask if the dishes you are purchasing can be made using minimum salt. Request for a salad with the dressing on the side. Avoid foods which contain soy sauce, ketchup, mustard and so on. Do not add extra salt to the meal you have bought.
While consuming pizza opt for less cheese, pepperoni or barbeque sauce, etc. Eat pasta with red sauce and vegetables instead of creamy cheese, bacon or sausage. In sandwiches, avoid the filling with cheese, bacon, ham, mayo and so on. Opt for vegetable and avocado based fillings. Prevent consuming Chinese meals as they include lot of sodium in them.
Focus on vegetables and fruits: Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits as they are extremely low in salt. Avoid canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Before purchasing the canned variety search for no salt included variation or decreased salt.
Needing the extra salt in your food is an acquired taste. It takes a few weeks to get accustomed to eating foods with less salt. When your taste has been set for low salt in the food you will find the junk foods and the processed foods salty.
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