To reduce salt intake it is recommended that we cook our own dishes and flee from the precooked, as well as fast food, which have high levels of sodium. Excessive consumption of sodium can lead to hypertension problems. In this article, we give you some tips to reduce sodium in your diet. Our body needs minerals to carry out many of its functions. Sodium acts in the transmission of nerve impulses and allows the muscles to respond to stimuli. However, a large part of the population takes more sodium than it should, from its most common source, salt.
When the kidneys cannot eliminate all the sodium present in our body complications can occur due to high blood pressure, such as chronic kidney disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and vascular dementia.
Functions of Sodium
As we have mentioned, the body needs sodium so that the muscles and nerves function properly. Therefore, it is established that the daily needs of sodium in an adult are 500 mg. Some of its functions are:
- It helps the muscles to respond to nervous stimuli
- It is part of the bones
- Maintains osmotic balance (concentration of substances inside and outside cells)
- Regulates blood pressure and blood volume
Sources of Sodium
Sodium is found naturally in many foods, but it’s most common form is sodium chloride, table salt. It also contains sodium, drinking water, milk, celery, and beet and, in general, is added to processed, canned or frozen products. Also, we find it in processed meats such as ham or sausages.
6 Tips to Reduce Sodium in your Diet
The WHO recommends reducing sodium intake to prevent blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease in adults.
“It is recommended not to exceed 2500 mg (5 g of salt) per day”.
Therefore, if you are interested in reducing sodium in your diet, we present some tips and changes in the day to day to make it easier for you to achieve it.
1. Eat at Home
Foods from restaurants or food companies use high amounts of salt. If you want to reduce the sodium in your diet, the ideal is to cook at home, where you can measure the amount of salt you use. As a suggestion, if you find it hard to cook every night, try to make the food, for example, the weekend and freeze it in portions to use when necessary.
2. Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables into your Diet
If you are having trouble leaving the salt shaker, try to include fruits and vegetables in the meals. The research confirms that consumption of foods rich in potassium helps mitigate the impact of sodium, by reducing blood pressure and dilation of the arteries. If you really want to neutralize some of the harmful effects of sodium, consume foods with potassium such as oranges, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, dried apricots, melon and beans.
3. Reduce Salt Gradually
No need to say goodbye radically to salt, the small reductions of around 25% of salt will go unnoticed. In addition, you can replace the salt with a low content of this mineral that provides half the sodium of common salt.
4. Look at the Labels on the Containers
Ideally, get away from processed foods and choose fresh and natural products. But if, for lack of time or other reasons, you have to buy them, concentrate on the nutritional information on the label to know which products have the lowest sodium levels. Look at all the labels of the products you buy frequently, whether it’s crackers, water, sausages, white bread, cheese, ham, etc.
5. Eat Some Foods without Salt
It is not necessary to give up all products to keep sodium levels in check. Consider the use of convenience ingredients without salt in soups, stews and stews. Then add the salt to taste, in moderation. In addition, frozen vegetables are simpler without salt. The same goes for dried beans, chickpeas and canned vegetables without salt.
6. Uses Fresh Herbs and Spices
Salt can be a great flavor enhancer, but foods that have a salty taste are not the tastiest. Instead of letting salt dominate a plate, try spicing up your food with spices and fresh herbs. Curry, pepper, thyme, garlic and onion can help you enhance the flavor of your food.
If you follow these tips you will be able to reduce the sodium intake in your diet without giving up the taste of your preparations.