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The Importance Of Salt In Diet

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Why is salt important for my diet? High levels of salt can cause you to develop hypertension, very low levels can critically affect your heart.

Sodium Chloride (NaCl) better known as common SALT is probably one of the most critical life-sustaining elements as it is needed for normal body functioning.

Its importance in our wellbeing is often overlooked, simply because we take it for granted.

Too little and it can stop our beating heart; and contracting of all muscles.
It helps maintaining electrolyte and fluid balances in our body.
It enables our brain and nerves to communicate and function properly
It is a life-enabling mineral, that our body needs only in the smallest amounts each day.
High intake of salt is associated with hypertension and edema and it is also known to increase calcium excretion. Over time it may lead to osteoporosis. On the other hand, eating too little salt can however lead to 'hyponatremia'
Read on for more information on this ‘magical potion’ that can make or break your recipe!
Do You Know The Importance Of Salt In Diet
The recommended Daily allowance for adults is 2400 mg of sodium, this translates simply into 1 tsp of table salt (both seen and hidden forms) a day total. For children up to 10 years of age this allowance is ½ tsp.
Healthy adults should eat less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day.
1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000 mg sodium
What Are The Common Sources of Sodium?
Common Food items (Total 2400 mg per day) Sodium Content
Salt, Table 1 tsp 2325 mg
Slice of home made pizza 218 mg
Mexican Taco, with cheese, tomatoes, meat 1 taco 1424 mg
Pasta Sauce, from jar, 1 cup 1203 mg
Soup, canned chicken noodle 1106 mg
Tomato products, sauce canned, 1 cup 1284 mg
Wheat flour, all purpose, 1 cup 1588 mg
1 slice ham 370 mg
Cornmeal, 1 cup enriched 1860 mg
Tuna fish salad, 1 cup 824 mg
Carbonated beverage, 1 can 100 mg
Cheeseburger 1051 mg
Baked Beans, 1 cup 1114 mg
Subway Sandwich, 1 made with cold cuts 1651 mg
Bread crumbs, store brought, 1 cup 2111 mg
Nachos with cheese (6-8 pcs only) 816 mg
Breaded fried Fish, 1 pc 484 mg
Croissant 57 mg
Slice of bread 45 mg
Glass of Milk 244 mg
Pav bhaji, 2 small pau, 1 cup bhaji 521 mg
Gulab Jamuns, 1 pc 178 mg
The importance of salt in foods is well known, but did you know that some medications also contain high amounts of sodium. Always read the labels on all over-the-counter medications for a statement of sodium content must be on labels of medications that have 5 mg or more per dosage unit. Most spices naturally contain very small amounts of sodium.
I know the importance of sodium in my diet, but I have hypertension, so how can I reduce the amount of sodium I consume -
  • Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items that DO NOT have added salts.
  • Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
  • Limit the amount of salty snacks you eat, like chips and pretzels.
  • Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses, as well as low-fat yogurt – Always read the labels.
  • Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food instead of salt.
The importance of sodium cannot be underscored, but do you know which sodium compounds should be avoided -
  • Salt (sodium chloride) - Used in cooking or at the table; used in canning and preserving.
  • Monosodium glutamate (also called MSG) - A seasoning used in home, restaurant and hotel cooking and in many packaged, canned and frozen foods.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) - Sometimes used to leaven breads and cakes; sometimes added to vegetables in cooking; used as alkalizer for indigestion.
  • Baking powder - helps breads and cakes rise.
  • Sodium nitrite - Used in Disodium phosphate - Found in some quick-cooking cereals and processed cheeses.
  • Sodium alginate - Used in many chocolate milks and ice creams to make a smooth mixture.
  • Sodium benzoate - Used as a preservative in many condiments such as relishes, sauces and salad dressings.
  • Sodium hydroxide - Used in food processing to soften and loosen skins of ripe Olives and certain fruits and n cured meats and sausages.
  • Sodium propionate - Used in pasteurized cheese and in some breads and cakes to inhibit growth of molds.
  • Sodium sulfite - Used to bleach certain fruits such as maraschino cherries and glazed or crystallized fruits that are to be artificially colored; also used as a preservative in some dried fruits such as prunes.
Tips On Eating Out While Recognizing Low Sodium Foods
Don't use the salt-shaker. Use the pepper-shaker or mill.
Be familiar with low-sodium foods and look for them on restaurant menus.
When you order, be specific about what you want and how you want your food prepared. Request that your dish be prepared without salt.
Add fresh lemon juice to fish and vegetables instead of salt.
Prescription drugs - Consumers can't know whether a prescription drug contains sodium. If you have high blood pressure, ask your physician or pharmacist about the sodium content of prescription drugs. NEVER stop taking your medication without checking with your doctor.
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