Thursday, February 11, 2010

4. Nutrition Facts - Salty Sodium

When you’re trying to lose weight, you really want to watch how much salt you eat since too much salt usually causes some bloating, right? When I have a very salty dinner, I usually weigh more the next morning. Even if you don’t weigh yourself in every morning, you still feel a bit bloated. This is one of the disadvantages of sodium. Another disadvantage is that sodium is strongly related to hypertension. So, salt sure makes food tasty but it is not so good for your health. Yet, we still have to consume some sodium everyday because it is very important in our bodies. The minimum recommended daily amount is 500mg and the maximum is 2,400mg. Just to give you an idea of how much salt we should be having a day, ONE teaspoon has 2,000mg of sodium!

In my case, salt is one of those ingredients I don’t measure anymore. This is such a big problem for me, though, because I just love salt. I’m one of those people who always thinks that everything could use a bit more salt. Fortunately, I recently discovered the world of spices. I hadn’t never really cooked with spices because I, honestly, was a little scared. I just wasn’t sure how to use them or which ones to use. But I think they can be a great substitute of salt since they bring so much flavour to whatever it is that you’re cooking – especially since low-fat, low-calorie dishes tend to be somewhat bland. So, lately I’ve been cooking with spices. So far, so good although I still need recipes to guide me. I don’t think I’m ready to cook with spices on my own just yet.

However, I know not everyone is a fan of spices. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce sodium intake:
  1. Buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned. All canned products are typically very high in sodium.
  2. Avoid processed foods
  3. Avoid frozen or commercially-prepared (junk food) meals
  4. Stay away from foods packed in brine
  5. Eliminate the salt shaker
 As a rule of thumb, the more processed a food is, the more sodium it contains.

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