How to lower the salt and cut it down in your diet.

5 Tips for Cutting Down on the Amount of Salt in Your Diet


Salt is a wonderful preservative. Hundreds of years ago it was actually used as currency. It can flavor many kinds of foods, from soups to seafood and salads. It is inexpensive and versatile in the kitchen. Unfortunately, too much salt can be downright deadly because of the sodium it contains.


Sodium is a highly addictive food which causes cardiovascular problems when taken in excess. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body, and this can cause stiff blood vessels, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. Ignoring the signs of too much salt in your diet can also lead to downright heart failure. Your kidneys are also overwork when you have too much salt in your diet. (For your daily recommended allowance of sodium, check out the suggestions of the US FDA at the end of this article.)


Salt Is as Addictive as...


The National Geographic Society, US Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic agree on at least one thing concerning salt. It stimulates your brain cells the same way that tobacco and hard drugs do to someone who is addicted to those deadly substances. That is how truly powerful salt addiction can be. We just discussed the dangers of too much salt in your diet. Keep the following 4 salt reduction tips in mind, and you lessen your chances of developing a dangerous salt addiction.


1 - Stop Adding Salt to Your Foods


Did you know that you are probably already getting too much salt in your diet? If you enjoy a lot of processed and packaged foods you are already ingesting a lot of sodium. Because it is such a great preservative, it is found in a number of foods. If your doctor recommends dialing back your sodium intake, stop adding salt to your foods. You will discover the natural flavor of food, and you will also slowly wean yourself off of a salt addiction if you suffer from one.


2 - Use More Herbs and Spices and Less Table Salt


Too many people today consider salt and pepper as the only two spice options they have! However, garlic, rosemary, cumin, basil, ginger, thyme, oregano and cinnamon all lend a very unique flavor and experience to foods. Turmeric, garlic and cayenne pepper are powerful food-flavorers as well, and like the spices and herbs just listed, they deliver healthy antioxidants, immunity boosters and anti-inflammatory properties to your food. Experiment with calorie and carbohydrate-free natural herbs and spices and your taste buds will thank you while your health benefits.


3 - Go Cold Turkey For 21 to 30 Days


Before you start freaking out, listen. The human body can naturally beat a sugar or salt addiction in 3 to 4 weeks. Your addiction comes from an abundance of salt, not healthy levels. When you stop taking added salt in your foods, turning down processed foods for natural alternatives, you help regulate a healthy sodium level. Many people find that after roughly 30 days of drastically limiting their sodium content, they no longer have a desire for unhealthy levels of salt in their diet.


4 Use a Salt Alternative


If you simply can't imagine a life without salting down your food, opt for a healthy salt alternative. Table salt (sodium chloride) is extremely high in sodium. This is the real component in salt that can cause so much damage to your heart and cardiovascular system. Most salt alternatives either totally remove or limit the amount of sodium they contain.


Traditional table salt options often use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Unfortunately, users sometimes report a bitter taste. NoSalt and Nu-Salt are 2 salt alternatives which deliver substantially less sodium than traditional table salt. Taste testing is up to the individual.


5 - Make Sure You Drink Lots of Water


Drinking water doesn't really cut back on the amount of salt you ingest. It does however help flush your system of excess sodium. Doctors and other health experts believe the human body requires 1 gallon of water per day for optimal health. This includes any water contained in the foods that you eat.


Unfortunately, many people are not drinking enough water. They choose sugar-laden sodas and energy drinks instead. While those beverages do contain water, they are packed full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. To help minimize the impact of any excess sodium in your diet, drink lots of water daily, especially during and after a sodium-rich meal.


How Much Salt Is the Right Amount?


The US FDA recommends eating no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Remember that this includes sodium which has already been added to processed foods. Anything above this level can cause elevated blood pressure and heart problems. How much salt is the truly ideal amount? Even if you lose a lot sodium because you sweat heavily, you still only need 1,500 mg of sodium per day for your body to function properly.

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