5 Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet
If you want to live a long, healthy life, you may want to rethink reaching for the salt shaker the next time you sit down for a meal. The average American consumes about five teaspoons of salt daily–which is quadruple the amount the body needs! Many of the foods we eat already contain sodium, and adding more salt can be dangerous for your health.
Consuming excessive sodium can lead to health issues including high blood pressure and heart problems. To help reduce the risks it is important to know the sodium levels in the foods you consume and to learn what you can do to adopt a low sodium diet.
The cook at Paradise Living Centers takes great care preparing healthy meals and snacks for our residents and will adjust the sodium content and make other modifications for certain diets. Simple steps, like substituting salt for herbs or spices, can make a big difference and keep dishes flavorful. Breads, cheeses and prepackaged foods are also known for their high amounts of sodium. However, this doesn’t mean you have to cut out these foods all together! Get in the habit of checking labels for salt (sodium chloride or NaCl) and look for foods that contain 140 mg of sodium or less per serving. Many don’t know that over-the-counter and prescription drugs can also contain high amounts of sodium. Be sure to speak with a doctor if you’re concerned about the levels of sodium in your medication.
Salt can add flavor to a meal, but the benefits of leaving it out can add so much more to your life:
Lower your blood pressure
One in three Americans struggle with high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Although other factors affect blood pressure, many of these problems can be attributed to diet and sodium intake.
Reduce need for daily medications
Some studies have shown that eating less salt allows some medications to work more efficiently. With lower blood pressure, you may be able to get off of some of your medications.
Maintain a healthy figure
Salt causes your body to retain water, which creates a temporary fluid weight gain. Eating too much salt can make you feel bloated and heavy. Try to consume no more than 1,5000 milligrams of sodium a day for an entire week and see how you look and feel afterward!
Regain your taste buds
If you’re accustomed to eating salty foods constantly your taste buds may not recognize all the other flavors in food. When you trade salting your food for healthier seasonings, you may develop a whole new set of tastes in meals.
Spend more time with your loved ones
Reducing sodium consumption lowers the risk of stroke or developing heart disease, which means less chance of hospital visits and more quality time with family.
To start lowering sodium intake and reaping the benefits, begin by making small adjustments to your diet right away. Step one is to try reaching for the salt shaker less, and try seasoning meals with paprika or pepper. Starting with small changes and setting weekly goals will lead to a greater chance of successfully kicking the sodium habit and improving health.