Lets start with the basics...
Pure salt consists of the elements Sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Its chemical name as you all may know is sodium chloride (NaCl). All salt comes from sea and about 5% of that ends up as seasoning, a large amount of what remains is poured into chemical plants. In adults the recommended allowance of sodium is 2300mg (in children this number is lower depending on age).
Salt is an essential
mineral to the human body. We contain about 4-8 ounces of the stuff and we need it to live. It helps to:
* Maintain normal volume of blood.
* Correct balance of water in and around cells and tissues.
* Maintain proper stomach pH.
* Aids recovery after exercise.
* Replacing sodium lost through sweat is essential for our bodies to recover fully.
While there are reasons we need salt, there are reasons why salt is bad. Over consumption of salt or sodium leads to many health risks namely:
* Increased blood pressure
* Greater risk of stroke
* Greater risk of Cardiovascular disease
It can also lead to fluid retention, which basically causes your body to hold on to large amounts of water.
As we know salt is in everything...more than ever. Just to list a few:
* Food prepared in Brine like pickles and tuna.
* Regular canned soups.
* Biscuits and Cookies.
* Crisps, pretzels and other savoury snacks.
* Smoked meats
* Corned beef
* Frankfurters and of types of sausage
* Ham and many more
* Processed cheese.
While getting rid of the saltshaker is a start. It doesn’t really make a difference because of the amount of salt in foods nowadays. It is possible to pick up low calorie meals that have a greater amount of salt than calories. Research has shown that you can reduce the amount of salt in the body by doing a couple of things:
* Use less salt when cooking including avoiding seasoning that contains extra salt, like garlic salt or onion salt for example.
* Try using lemon and other small quantities of herbs and spices as an alternative.
* Choose fresh fruit and vegetables.
* Dark green Veg like asparagus and Kale can help combat fluid retention caused and reduce the bodies overall salt content. They can also help to reduce blood pressure.
* Always read the food label.
Salt is not the enemy, but it is certainly not your friend. Just like most things in life, moderation is key. Keep your eyes open to food labels. Manufacturers add salt to improve taste, the foods stabilization and to increase its shelf life. I repeat...always read the label.