The North American diet contains way too much sodium. Not only do we tend to sprinkle salt on our food but processed foods usually contain lots of sodium. Most research seems to agree that we should try and average between 1,500 mgs (0.75 tsp) and 2,000 mgs (1 tsp) of salt. Table salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The processed foods are what we really have to pay attention to. Canned products, particularly soups, tend to be quite high in their sodium amounts.
Too much sodium wrecks a delicate balance that allows your body to control the amount of stored water in your blood. Too much sodium causes too much water which raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your kidneys and arteries. This can lead to high blood pressure which is a leading contributor to heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of premature death.
Here’s how to reduce the amount of sodium we ingest:
- Use fresh cuts of meat over processed meats
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables which have potassium to help the sodium balance
- When buying frozen vegetables look for “fresh frozen” with no added sauces
- Use spices that don’t include sodium i.e. garlic powder over garlic salt
- Read the labels of the food you purchase and choose options with lower sodium
- Drink plenty of water to help balance this amazing control system
Remember we need sodium as it is an essential mineral for our body. It is involved in muscle contraction, nerve conduction and prevents us from becoming dehydrated. Just make sure you pay attention to how much you are putting into you.
Thanks as always for checking out The Senior Core Issue
– Dr. Pat Graham