Tip of the Week
Have you ever salted your food before tasting it, or know someone who has? You may be heading toward Salt Overeaters Anonymous.
“For most of us, we consume more sodium than our bodies require,” says Pamela Ofstein, a registered dietitian who owns and operates a private nutrition practice in Florida. “Even for those of us that are termed 'generally healthy,' the extra sodium intake or use of salt on a regular basis is not necessary and can be a health risk."
Such health issues that can occur from excess salt intake include cardiovascular disease, hypertension and dehydration, along with inhibiting proper absorption of nutrients and affecting normal body functions, such as those within the kidney.
Ofstein offers these tips on how to cut back on everyday use of salt in foods:
- Know your history. If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking, obesity or high blood pressure, you are at a higher risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association currently recommends an intake of less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day — and most of us eat about 3,400 mg of sodium a day or more, Ofstein says.
- Put the shaker away — both at meal time and during cooking. “Most of us have developed a ‘salt palate’ … and add it to foods thinking it doesn’t have enough flavor or tastes bland,” Ofstein says. Start by substituting. “By adding herbs, spices and seasonings to foods when preparing or cooking, for example, it can add just as much flavor without adding the extra sodium.” Ofstein suggests garlic, oregano, onion, rosemary, thyme and basil, to name a few.
- Re-think your snack. Go for natural, whole foods instead of that bag of potato chips. If you have a hankering for something crunchy, try baked tortilla chips, unsalted popcorn or pretzels, raw nuts, raisins, unsalted rice cakes or vegetables.
- Beware of hidden salt. Processed foods, such as baked goods and packaged items, often contain added salt or salt alternatives. When enjoying meals and snacks, limit added salt by choosing raw fruits and veggies, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats.
— Amber Krosel, More Content Now