Should You Switch to Low Sodium Diet?

Salt. Everyone loves it. If you have ever enjoyed a good meal, there is a good chance a healthy amount of salt was involved. Too much of it, though, is going to cause a host of other problems that will dramatically reduce your ability to enjoy good food that is seasoned with it. Listen, I’m not going to tell you that you have to stay away from salt for forever, but you should cut back to a reasonable amount in order to lose weight and live a long, healthy life.

What Is Sodium?

saltSodium chloride is salt, just to make sure that I’m being clear. It’s vital to your body. So vital, in fact, that it was one of the most profitable trades in the ancient world. When you take in sodium, your body uses it to regulate the water content of your body and send signals to your nervous system.

As the world progressed and salt intake grew as well, doctors began to notice a pattern. Too much is going to lead to high blood pressure, dizziness, muscle cramps, electrolyte imbalances, stroke, and even stomach cancer.

What Is A Low Sodium Diet Plan?

A low sodium diet is exactly what it sounds like. A diet that is low in sodium. Reducing your sodium intake to about 1,500mg a day will have a huglow-sodium-diete impact on your life. 2,000mg is the limit that most medical professionals agree on, but many people get 2-3 times that much!

To cut back, you are going to be eating foods that are rich in nutrients. Fruits, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fish and dairy products. These all have everything that you need, but no excess sodium or things that will cause you to store fat. On the other hand, you should stay away from the following at all costs: table salt, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, sun dried tomatoes, bacon, snack foods, pickles, and salt water fish.

Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast:

  • 1 medium sized whole-wheat bagel with 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 cup black coffee

Lunch:

  • Spinach salad:
    • 4 cups of leaves
    • 1 whole pear (sliced)
    • 1/2 cup sliced oranges
    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinaigrette (reduced fat)

Dinner:

  • 3oz baked cod
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of steamed green beans
  • 1 small sized sourdough roll
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries

Sounds like a standard diet, doesn’t it? In reality, however, the kind of benefits that you’ll get from this switch go far beyond weight loss.

Benefits of Low Sodium Diet

A lowering sodium in your diet is going to help you lose weight, of course, but it does so much more. The weight loss comes largely from the healthy foods that you will be eating. Foods that are high in salt are also the same foods that cause you to gain weight. Snack foods, soda, soy sauce covered fried rice. These are all things that will stop your weight loss dead in its tracks.

In addition, you are going to extend your life. Heart disease is one of the most deadly things known to man at this day and age. For example, for every 1,000mg that you cut out, a measurable drop in blood pressure is possible. 4mm Hg is the average drop. Even if you have normal blood pressure, this is going to make a big impact. Your body will also be better able to manage your water, face less muscle cramps, and reduce your risk of stomach cancer.

Are There Any Risks?

I haven’t been able to find any. Lowering your sodium intake only helps your body, not harm it. There is a risk, however, if you lower your sodium intake too much. It isn’t something that should be avoided at all costs, just regulated. Reducing your intake too low will cause many of the same problems, including water intoxication. You are never at much of a risk for drinking too much water, except when you don’t have enough salt in your system to regulate it properly.

Reading Food Labels

food-labelReading food labels is an important part of starting a low sodium diet. The US government created a standard design that is found on all food products.

First, look at the serving size printed on the label, this is the amount that is usually eaten by a normal sized adult. You can trick yourself into thinking things are healthier than they are if you don’t look at the serving size.

Now, take a look at the sodium content. If there is less than 140mg, this is considered a low sodium food. Remember that you are trying to get 1,500mg a day. Eat according to that.

This is also important because you’ll be shocked at the amount of sugar in foods that you eat when you actually look at the nutrition facts. The carbohydrate amount can make something seem healthy, until you realize that it is actually filled to the brim with sugars.

Ending Remarks

So, can you benefit from a low sodium diet? The answer is a resounding, YES! Salt is one of the most problematic things that is a part of the modern diet. Cutting out a good deal of it will absolutely change your life for the better.

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