How Much is Too Much?
As per certain researches, the ideal amount of sodium to be consumed is between 2,500 milligrams and 6,000 milligrams. Some experts advise to keep the level till 2,300 milligrams but one must know that dipping levels can also be detrimental for the body. It is better to maintain a balance and not under or over consume salt.
If you are having whole foods, you are naturally consuming less sodium than the whole world. So, do not harbor many doubts and go ahead with whatever your taste buds suggest. If you are a low carb person or are suffering from thyroid, you can increase your salt intake by drinking water with 1 teaspoon of potassium salt every morning.
Adults should consume less than 6 grams of salt per day, that is, one teaspoon. This includes the salt that is already contained in foods and the salt that is added while cooking food. Then, children should have even lesser amounts than adults.
A lot of foods are already high in salt, like dry roasted nuts, but it will be shocking to know how much salt can everyday food add to your diet without you knowing. Even before buying it, almost three-quarters of the salt is already added to your diet. Moreover, foods like packet soups, sauces, ready-made meals, bread, cereals etc., to contain salt. Since we eat these quite often, the amount of salt in our diet is bound to skyrocket.
The amount of salt will vary between different brands and varieties. So it is better to check food labels as it can help you choose healthier options for your diet.
Reducing Sodium can Lower Blood Pressure
Although it is true that reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure, it is only a mild impact. Thus, eat little to no salt if you suffer from high blood pressure. What happens is salt makes your body retain water. The extra water that gets stored in the body because of eating too much, raises the blood pressure. Furthermore, eating too much salt also means that the medicines of blood pressure like diuretics would not work.
Therefore cutting down the amount of salt you eat is one of the ways to lower your blood pressure, especially if you are plagued by high blood pressure. However. this is easier said than done as most of the salt we consume is already in the food we eat.
Is salt Quality Important?
Hands down, the quality of salt matters more than the quantity. High-quality salt naturally contains almost all critical minerals including potassium, calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron, and zinc to name a few. Salt that is of good quality is hand-mined which is why you do not have to worry about heavy metals and other harmful pollutants.
Pink salt helps you gain some extra nutrients even though it does not have more minerals. The mineral content in pink salt isn’t a huge game changer health-wise, but it’s an easy way to get some extra nutrients in your diet.
Make sure to avoid white, refined table salt as it is processed at high temperatures, bleached, and treated with anti-caking agents to keep it from forming clusters. You will only consume sodium chloride minus the minerals.
How to Reduce Salt Intake
Low salt does not have to be equated with blandness or tastelessness. There are several ways to lower your salt intake.
- Thoroughly check the nutritional information on food labels when you buy anything. Go for low-salt options.
- Do not be overly generous when adding salt to the food while cooking and don’t add it after the food is served.
- Instead of salt, you can add pepper, herbs, spices, or lemon juice to your food for flavor.
- Watch out for cooking sauces and seasonings like soy sauce -some of these are really very high in salt.
- Switch salty snacks like crisps and salted nuts with fruit and vegetables instead.
- Avoid as far as possible saltier foods such as bacon, cheese, takeaways, ready meals, and other processed foods as they can shoot up your sodium intake.
By now you must have realized how important sodium is for your body. However, in exceeding the necessary amount, there is always a fear of putting your body through enormous harm in the form of high blood pressure and kidney damage. To maintain just the right level of sodium, make sure to keep your water and electrolyte levels in balance. If the sodium level is 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter, you have nothing to worry about. Realizing its importance and an optimal intake is always a key!