Salt… And More Salt
Living on a a farm and being the girl of the family meant that I made dinner. Dinner was always a big meal and usually was meat and potatoes based. Salt on the meat. Salt in the water to boil the potatoes. I can remember getting into a load of trouble for not remembering to salt the water. There was even salt added to radishes before you ate them. All of this was before we really knew how bad too much salt was for our health.
Today, we salt very little of our food. I have even given it up on my most favourite of foods – corn-on-the-cob. However, there is salt in all most all of the foods that we buy and in most cases way too much. It saddens me that cereal is overloaded, that veggie juices that are to be good for us are salted up and that even soup can be a culprit.
Be aware of labels that say that they are heart healthy especially in restaurants – salt content may not be one of the measures that they are looking at when they label it this way. Click to tweet
Salt Can Cause Health Problems
We take in way more salt than we should and it is causing health problems. Some still believe that we need salt and that was true in the olden days as our diets were short in iodine and table salt had iodine added to it to prevent goiter and mental retardation. But today we take in way more than our 3 grams per day (on average about 3-5 times this amount) and processed foods are the largest culprits. According to the American Heart Association website 90% of our grocery bill is spent on processed foods.
Having Too Much Salt
Too much salt in our diet increases our blood pressure and water retention and can put us at risk for osteoporosis, kidney disease and stomach cancer. According to a computer simulation from the American Heart Association, if Americans used just one gram of salt less each day, they could see one-fourth million fewer cases of heart disease and a Bibbins-Domingo study found that if Americans reduced their salt intake by three grams each day (three times the above mentioned rate), then such a reduction would result in 6% fewer cases of heart disease and 3% fewer deaths in the United States.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating Less Salt Day:
- Read the labels and get an idea of how much salt is in the foods that you buy
- Compare different brands of your favourite foods to see who has the lowest sodium
- We know that fresh is best – buy more fruits and vegetables and leave the salt off the radishes
- Try more herbs – experiment and see what flavours you can add to your meats and soups
- Lobby your local grocery store and favourite brands to lower the salt in-take and offer low-salt alternatives. Companies add it because they think that you want it, but if you are willing to buy it because it has lower salt than the competitor they may start to listen
- Be aware of labels that say that they are heart healthy especially in restaurants – salt content may not be one of the measures that they are looking at when they label it this way.
- Get educated on your choices – Quick Quiz from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: If you’re trying to watch your sodium intake, eating a can of soup at lunch is a good alternative to a hamburger and fries. It may be, but one cup of soup can have up to 1300 milligrams of sodium. Look for low-, reduced-sodium, or “no-salt added” versions of foods.
The First Step
Awareness is the first key to health and wellness. The second is making good choices. Start small by reading and comparing and then choosing the less salt option. Now…I am off to buy some corn-on-the-cob from our local farmer for dinner (sans salt).
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
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