Salt is so vital for our body. Sodium in the salt helps contract muscle fibers and transmits nerve impulses. It works closely with potassium to finely balance body’s fluid levels. But this requires just a small amount of salt-less than 1/10 of a teaspoon in a day. But reality is that an average American consumes nearly 22 times that much. That’s the biggest reason why millions in America suffer from hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and migraine.
Controlling Blood Pressure
Two in four Americans today have hypertension (high blood pressure). Many of them don’t even know they have it because hypertension has no warning signs or symptoms. When high blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the damage to your arteries, heart and kidneys accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, detecting high blood pressure is so easy and you can treat it with medicine and lifestyle changes.
You can find many tips on controlling your blood pressure, and keep it in healthy range simply with some lifestyle changes, such as increasing activity, losing weight, and eating more healthfully.
The body’s internal mechanism can rid itself of excess sodium. However, in some people consumption of excess sodium makes their body hold on to water. This increases the fluid content that flows through the arteries and blood vessels, which increases body’s blood pressure.
Most of the salt consumed by Americans comes from processed and prepared foods. The top culprits include sandwich meats, snack foods, cured and smoked meats, canned and dry soups, canned juices, pizzas and other kind of fast foods, and some condiments, sauces, and relishes-for starters. But most of it comes from salt shaker at home so it’s best to find alternatives to banish this excess salt from your life.
I’m providing five valuable tips to cut back on sodium you’re cooking or at the table:
1. Use the right healthy fats, go nuts for healthy fats in your kitchen-from olive to avocados and roasted nuts, soybean, canola, and other oils-and add some rich flavor to your foods, minus the salt.
2. Try to use sodium free spices and other flavor enhancers. You can add dried and fresh herbs, flavors to your dishes, roots (such as ginger and garlic), vinegars, citrus, and wine. From cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric to chili peppers, fresh basil and some lemon juice, these harmless flavor enhancers can create excitement for the palate-without using any sodium.
3. Use whole grains from other sources than bread. Did you know whole grain bread, though a much healthier choice than white, may have considerable amount of sodium. Breads have quite a bit of salt-and not just flavor. This is done to ensure dough rises properly. Try to skip extra salt when you choose whole grains outside of baking. For instance, instead of using toast with breakfast, cook with faro, steel-cut oats, or other whole grains with dried or fresh fruit.
4. Sauté, sear, and roast. Sautéing or searing foods in pan builds some flavor. Roasting, on the other hand, brings out taste of chicken and fish and natural sweetness of some vegetables. If you microwave or steam some dishes, perk them up with a squeeze of citrus or with a finishing drizzle of flavorful oil.
5. Understand more about your seasons, and if possible, your local farmers. Try to shop with organic natural ingredients that are full of natural flavor. This will help avoid any need to add artificial options, because they may contain sodium. Choose peak-of-the-season produce from local farmer markets and supermarkets.