Whether it’s bloating and swelling that makes you remove salt from your diet or high blood pressure or other coronary scare, just donating your salt shakers to a non profit charitable organization or hiding them in the cupboard won’t be enough. It’s not the salt itself that’s your enemy but the sodium in the salt. If you eat processed food, you’re getting most of your sodium from it, rather than the salt you add to the food.
Today’s processed foods are high in salt.
I admit it, I happen to have a “thing” for beef jerkey. A friend knew that and gave me a huge container of it, without considering my passion for whole foods…or maybe he did and thought it was funny. I ate half the container before my family came home. When my daughter found out, she said in a sarcastic voice, “Why didn’t you just open a bottle of soy sauce and drink it? Or grab a tablespoon of salt?” She’s right jerkey has soy and soy sauce is loaded with salt. There are other foods that you might not guess have high amounts of sodium. Cottage cheese, flaky croissants, salad dressing and some breakfast cereals.
It’s time to start reading labels.
Check the nutritional facts on the labels and boxes of food before you purchase. For instance, you might think that Raisin Bran is a healthier choice over Frosted Mini Wheats. Frosted Mini Wheats contains sugar, after all. A mixture of raisins and bran, well, how could that not be healthy? It even sounds healthy. Guess which one is loaded with sodium and which one isn’t. The Raisin Bran has an amazing 262mg sodium in just one cup, while the Frosted Mini Wheats contains just 5mg for the same amount. Since the recommended daily allowance is 2,300 mg, the Raisin Bran is more than 1/10th your recommended daily amount.
What does sodium do to make your blood pressure rise.
Sodium attracts water, which is why you get thirsty after a salty meal. If you have a lot of sodium in your blood, it causes blood volume to increase and blood pressure to rise. Your heart has to work hard to pump the blood when that happens. The increased force also causes arteries and organs like the brain, kidneys and eyes to be damaged.
- Take the guesswork out of shopping and even the reading by using whole foods, not processed foods.
- Drain and rinse canned foods before you heat them if they contain sodium in the liquid.
- Eat more potassium to counteract the effects of sodium.
- Food that contains higher amounts of potassium include bananas, carrot juice, pomegranate juice, sweet potatoes, spinach, potatoes, white beans and tomatoes.