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A Low Sodium Diet and how it Benefits your Health

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Published on - 26-Jul-2015 11:26 pm

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One step to healthy living is healthy eating which includes maintaining a low-sodium diet. Salt— sodium chloride—is a major contributor to high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease. Hypertension affects approximately one in three humans.When blood pressure gets too high, damage occurs in many organs such as the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes. By adhering to a low-sodium diet, many people see their blood pressure levels decrease. A low-sodium diet can also reduce damage to internal organs.


scientists showed that reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg a day lowers systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.5 mm Hg in patients with hypertension. Easing off salt reduced blood pressure even in people with what’s considered normal pressure.

In an experiment, volunteers were divided into three groups. One group consumed 3,300 milligrams of salt a day, about the average for most Americans. Another limited their intake to just 2,400 mg, which is what most experts recommend. The third cut back to only 1,500 mg a day. Across the spectrum, the less sodium the volunteers consumed, the lower their blood pressure.

Read nutrition labels and find foods with lower sodium content. High levels of sodium may seem hidden in pre-packaged food, especially when a food doesn’t taste salty—this is where nutrition labels come in handy. Pay attention to serving sizes and keep these tips from the Food and Drug Administration in mind: 120 mg or less of sodium per serving is pretty low. 480 mg or more of sodium per serving is high and should be watched out for. Low sodium means 140 mg of sodium or less per serving, whereas very low sodium means 35 mg or less per serving. To be on the safe side, shoot for foods with very low sodium.

Limit processed foods. More than 75% of the sodium consume comes from processed and restaurant foods—not the salt shaker. Most processed foods may not taste salty, but 9 times out of 10, they’re loaded up with massive amounts of sodium. Try purchasing fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market, cook at home so you can regulate how much sodium you use and pay attention to nutrition labels.

Avoid adding salt when cooking and eating and use herbs instead. Instead of using salt to flavor your vegetables, try olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette to kick it up a notch. On potatoes or pasta, use roasted garlic to add a bit of spice. Instead of salting your eggs, use a low sodium salsa to give them some flavor. And for fish and seafood, try adding a little lemon juice instead of salt for a subtle, tangy flavor.

Choose foods with potassium. These foods actually counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure.

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