Is Salt Bad for You?
Salt is sodium chloride, an inorganic compound composed of sodium and chloride ions. It’s used as an enhancer in the food industry because of its unique flavor enhancing behavior. In addition, it’s also used in deicing, freezing, refrigeration and the petrochemical industry.
Since humans began using salt, there have been questions about whether it’s good or bad for us. Some people are extremely sensitive to salt, while others are completely oblivious to its effects.
Contrary to popular belief, too much salt isn’t good for us at all. A diet high in sodium has been linked with high blood pressure and heart disease. And since our bodies don’t need salt to survive, excessive salt can cause problems.
Although the American Heart Association recommends less than 2,300 milligrams of consumed salt daily, the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams per day.
Because even healthy people can benefit from reducing their salt intake, there have been many attempts to find substitutes for salt.
Most people associate removing salt from the diet with bland, tasteless food. But many companies are taking advantage of recent research on salt removal.
Doritos, for example, has branched into the low-sodium market, offering its customers an alternative.
Keep the Sodium Out (Before It Gets In)
You need to be cautious about your sodium intake. But most foods contain some sodium, making it hard for you to control your sodium intake.
When you choose foods that are lower in sodium, you can control your intake better and maintain a low-sodium diet. But when the foods you eat have a lot of sodium, dealing with high blood pressure and other problems may be a lot harder.
Look at the grams of sodium on the nutrition facts label. If a food has more than 140mg of sodium per serving, try to find a lower salt version that contains less than 140mg of sodium. Read the labels and educate yourself about what you’re putting in your mouth.
Choose fresh foods that don’t come from a can. Look for items that are labeled with “reduced sodium” or “low sodium”—if that’s a category. Avoid the foods that have “sodium free” on the label because they often contain more sodium than the regular version. Stick to whole or fresh foods and cook your own meals rather than relying on processed foods from a box, can or bag.
And when you do buy packaged foods, choose the ones that have the fewest grams of salt per serving.
Flush the Sodium Out (Once It’s Already In)
If you have been steadily adding salt to your diet, it’s no doubt that you’re at risk for high blood pressure. If you want to get rid of sodium in the long term, you have to stop adding more of it to your diet. To tackle the sodium that’s already in your system, you have to flush it with water.
Just how much water do you need to drink to get rid of the excess sodium? Luckily, the recommended amount of water to drink is two liters per day. If you consume this amount each day, the water flushes out the sodium. Of course, drinking that much water each day might seem like an impossible goal. But it’s not! You can reach this goal by adding water to your daily routine.
Thirst often misleads us into thinking we’re dehydrated when we’re not … you can drink plenty of water without being thirsty! So the first step to reaching your water target is to increase your thirst threshold. Drink water before you get thirsty to train your body to stop misinterpreting thirst signals as hunger.