Excess Salt or Sodium
The body requires sodium which it obtains from various food sources. However, an excess of sodium is harmful for the body. It is now a known fact that excess salt causes high blood pressure. This in turn opens up the body to many other diseases, subsequently. There are various recommendations given as to how much of table salt we should take. This ranges from three grams to five grams of salt in a day. Even if we stick to these recommendations, we land up having much more salt than we need.
This excess salt intake occurs because there are various food products which have a lot of sodium content and we consume them without realizing it. Some of the foods to watch out for are:
Breads – all breads by default have high sodium content. This includes the whole wheat and multi grain varieties. One large piece of bread can have as much as 230 mg of sodium. The commercial baked bread cannot taste good or achieve its consistency without salt and sugar.
Pizza – Once large slice of pizza (even the thin crust, health food variety) has over 700 mg of sodium. Pizza tastes great because it has salt.
Poultry – All chicken contains sodium. Even raw chicken these days has a lot of sodium. This may be due to chicken feed which is provided or other contaminants. But it is difficult to find chicken with less sodium.
Cold Cuts and Cured Meats – Cold cuts and cured meats stay preserved and taste good precisely because they have high amounts of salt. A standard pack of even high quality meat can have as high as 1000 mg of salt per packet.
Fast Food – Fast food is addictive and tastes good not only because of the high fat content but also because of the high salt content. Ever wondered why those delicacies never taste the same when you make them at home? Excess salt and excess cooking medium is the key.
Seasoning, preservatives and binding agents all form part of packaged foods; even the health food variety. These are key ingredients for food to look good, smell good, taste good and to make it last longer. Therefore these key ingredients, all contain salt.
Coloring and texturing agents – Practically all food produced, prepared or packaged outside contain these agents. From foods to drinks, these are to be found in practically all products sold outside. These contain salt as the texture and the color of the food or drink, improves.
Fermentation – Fermented foods contain much more sodium than foods not subject to the fermentation process. This is due to baking and leavening agents and the changes they bring about in the food.
Other Products – Products which enhance flavor and taste also have high sodium content like soy sauce, ketchup and MSG (ajinomoto). No wonder then, that Chinese food from outside tastes delicious.
Where Do We Get Salt From?
Salt is required by the body, but most of the salt we need gets fulfilled through the natural salt content to be found in various foods like grains and vegetables. Therefore, the extra requirement is not more than 5 mg per person per day. This requirement is much lower for children. Even if we go without table salt in today’s day and age, we will get enough salt and sodium.
Excess Salt Consumption
Various studies have been found that an average person today consumes as high as ten mg to fifteen mg of salt without even realizing it. Excess salt is one of the key causes of high blood pressure in addition to disturbing the osmotic cell pressure. This imbalance in osmotic cell pressure, gradually leads to certain types of diseases.
What Can We Do?
Excess salt kills slowly, so do take care and reduce your salt intake to negligible levels. Stay at a two mg to three mg level per day to remain healthy. To be even more fit and healthy, take one of our (wellzee) balanced diet plans.