Say It Aint So(dium)

Sodium Intake

Trying to eat clean comes with the perception that is if it is healthy, it must be bland. There are hidden dangers in foods that you may otherwise think are ok but are there to make things taste better. Salt is one of these dangers. 

Sodium intake in America is at an all-time high. The average intake is 3,400 mg a day when only 1,500-2,300 mg is recommended. The appropriate amount of sodium intake can be beneficial by helping regulate blood pressure and volume. Sodium assists muscles and nerves with muscular contraction and transmitting nerve signals. It also accommodates a regular blood pH level, a good health indicator. 

Excessive sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Your kidneys work to remove extra sodium from your body, but if they can’t effectively get rid of it, blood volume increases causing your heart to work harder, creating additional pressure on the arteries, resulting in high blood pressure. 

Too much salt can also cause your body to retain fluids which cause swelling in the feet, ankles, and hands, weight fluctuations and a larger abdomen. Long term fluid retention can be a sign of heart failure, kidney disease, lung disease, and arthritis. 

The effects of an inordinate amount of sodium can be reversed when proportional. Paying attention and avoiding some of the big-time offenders like processed foods, frozen meals, chips, pizza, canned soups, deli meats, bread, and condiments can make a difference in the intake. 

Spices and herbs are a healthier way to boost flavor and have amazing health benefits. Research shows common herbs and spices protect against inflammation, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary were proven to have a significant amount of antioxidants, so much so that even dried herbs still contain a notable amount. Dried herbs and spices have decent shelf lives and can be added to almost anything. Reputable companies offer mixtures of salt-free herbs and spices that take your food from bland to bam with a few shakes. Added to superfoods, you’re enhancing flavor and health benefits.