On The Table

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Habitual Salt and Sneaky Sodium: The Joys of Low Sodium Food Products

Low sodium food products can help you avoid meals that can send your body's cholesterol into shockwaves.

Habitual Salt and Sneaky Sodium: The Joys of Low Sodium Food Products

Whenever you go to a restaurant, the shaker stares at you. Whenever you go to the grocery store, you walk down the aisle and there are too many packaged varieties to count. Salt can sneak up on you, and it is almost ingrained in us at a young age to use salt as a fixer-up flavor to add to our bland meals. The leading cause of increased sodium is salt, but even if you don’t use a lot of salt on your food, your diet could be higher in sodium than you think.

Creeping Up On You…

Salt loves to hide in the shadows as sodium, so in order to keep your blood pressure in check, it’s important for you to embrace low sodium food products.

Although we do need sodium in order to maintain essential body functions, (like nerve and muscle function), too much of it can spell bad news. By looking for low sodium food products you can train yourself to ignore the foods that help many of us go way beyond our recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams a day. Most women actually, on average, actually exceed their recommended intake by 20%. Too much sodium can increase your risk of osteoporosis, kidney stones, and gastric ulcers.

In order to prevent yourself from driving down the “high-sodium” highway, you can take precautions by ignoring certain foods in your quest to find low sodium food products. These foods are packed with high-sodium: certain vegetable juices, frozen dinners, ready-to-eat cereals, packaged deli meats, and snacks like potato chips and pretzels.

Kicking the Habit…

Bet you didn’t know this, but many salt fans find it hard to break away from their favorite flavor inducer. Why? Because salt can be habit-forming.

If we take a liking to salt, pleasure receptors in our brain take a liking to it, thus making it harder to live without. In fact, research has shown that there might be a direct link between sodium deficiency and depression.

Since salt is actually an acquired taste, there is hope of downgrading your dose and enjoying low sodium food products When in doubt, always use your eyes and check labels. Often times, labels will say, “reduced sodium” but they generally just contain about 25% less sodium than the original. What you want to do is look for labels that say, “low sodium” instead of “reduced sodium.” Generally these foods will only have about 140 milligrams per serving.

Healthy “Salternatives”

Most of the sodium that is out there in the world today is added to our foods during the production process. In order to find the bestlow sodium food products, it is important that you make yourself aware of some of the worst offenders out there. These can also be certain drinks, too. Some of the worst things are blended coffee drinks, cheese, and baked goods.

This is not to say that you still can’t enjoy flavorful food. There are alternatives out there that can help you stick to your low-sodium guns. Instead of salting up your veggies to spruce them up, use either olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet taste of the balsamic vinegar can pump up the flavor nicely of your bitter greens. On potatoes or pasta, use roasted garlic to add a bit of tanginess and livelihood. Instead of salting your eggs up, use a low sodium salsa to give them a kick.