Sodium is necessary in the body…but

The body needs some sodium to function properly. Sodium plays a role in the balance of fluids in your body, just the way nerves and muscles work.

The kidneys balance the amount of sodium in the body. When sodium is low, the kidneys hold on to it. When sodium is high, the kidneys release some in the urine.

If the kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, it builds up in the blood. Sodium attracts and holds water, so the blood volume increases. The heart must then work harder to pump blood, and this increases pressure in the arteries. Over time this can cause heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. This means that they retain sodium more easily, which leads to fluid retention which increases your blood pressure.

Less sodium is better than more. On average a person should have around 2,300 mg per day. That would equal about 1 teaspoon per day.

Most salt consumed in a typical Western diet come from processed foods, or prepared foods. This would include: Pizza, bread, cold cuts (lunch meats, bacon, cheese), soups, soy sauce and fast foods. Check the food labels on these items when you shop. You may be able to purchase them with a label that says low sodium or no sodium. Butter, beef and chicken stock can be purchased this way.

Here are some ideas of how you can cut back on sodium:

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. They are naturally low in sodium.

Fresh organic meat is better than eating cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham.

Choose low-sodium products, they will be labeled on the containers.

Eat and cook at home. This is the best way to determine how much sodium you are eating each day.

Don’t add sodium to the dinner table. Try using fresh ground pepper to substitute. Fresh herbs, spices, and citrus juice.

When shopping look out for labels and claims that are used for marketing a product. Such as:

Sodium free, this contains 5mg of sodium

Very low salt, each serving contains 35 mg

Reduced sodium, each serving contains 140 mg of sodium

Unsalted, contains no salt.

Our taste for salt is an aquired taste, so you can learn to use less salt to enjoy your food. You probably won’t even miss it! You will actually learn to enjoy more the tase of your food. Enjoy!

…make a memory every day and don’t apologize for who you are…Rebecca

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