75% of “sodium” intake comes from sources other than salt in our modern diet
Salt is a vital and essential substance for our metabolic and nutritional needs. It provides essential minerals and micronutrients that are very useful for energy metabolism, electrolyte balance, thyroid health, mental health, controlling glucose use, and maintaining healthy insulin levels. It is also important for pregnancy and fetus health, keeps the tone of organ and skin, and helps normal function and regulation of heart, kidney, liver, stomach, and brain.
Experts recommend 5 grams of salt for a healthy adult per day, 40% of salt is sodium, which means 2 grams of sodium per day, but this is only the salt that gives you that much sodium in daily intake.
Sodium is an essential micronutrient mineral. It has an indispensable role in various metabolic functions like fluid body regulation, maintains turgidity of organs, and normal blood pressure is also needed to exchange minerals in significant intracellular metabolism.
WHAT MAKES IT HARMFUL
Adding to salt, daily intake of milk, juice, jam, nuts, soup, pickles, sauce, biscuits, potato chips, sandwiches, cheese, fast foods like burger, pizza, frozen, packed, and preserved foods are heavily loaded with sodium. We don’t consider our daily intake from sources other than salt, but “75% of sodium intake comes from sources other than salt in our modern diet”. An excess of total sodium intake is very detrimental to our body.
DAMAGING EFFECTS ON BODY
Surplus or oversupply of salt and sodium for a prolonged period causes much metabolic, operative and structural disturbance. High intake of total sodium increases the risk of hypertension, heart problem, kidney problems, stroke, dementia, obesity, and many other health issues. It can also cause hardening of blood vessels by lowering the elasticity of walls, damage your bone health, and cause osteoporosis because excessive salt consumption can significantly excrete calcium amount in urine. It may also cause stomach ulcers and colorectal cancer because of extra sodium intake.
Stomach and colorectal cancer usually develop when high sodium, salt intake linked with obesity. Poor dietary habits like a low fibre intake, low antioxidant intake, humble fruit vegetable, low Vitamin C intake, addiction to smoking tobacco, and daily alcohol use increase cancer risk many folds.
Iodine is a necessary micronutrient for pregnant women and children; it is essential for brain development and their overall health to use iodine salt in their food daily. Still, when you come to adults other than pregnant ladies, iodine can cause sufficient side effect if you take in large amounts. People with pre-existing diseases like eosinophilia, morning sickness syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach pain, headache, diarrhoea, metallic taste, joint pain and some hormonal and metabolic problems including thyroid issues excess of iodine is harmful.
How to control sodium intake
- Sodium intake can be managed by your choice of food type and food quantity.
- Avoid packed, preserved, processed, frozen or fast foods, if you have fond of taste these, enjoy them “once in a week” if you can’t avoid them entirely.
- Eat plenty of fresh, raw, natural food items, fruits, vegetables as a salad; it should be more than 30% of what you eat in your full-day by weight.
- Use onion, garlic, ginger, paper, black, pepper, lemon, vinegar for taste in fresh form this can make your food tastier without extra added sodium.
- Avoid using multiple taste enhancers in a single meal like sauces, pickles, dressings, salty masala, and different salts.
- Stop intake of chemicals like monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sodium nitrate, sodium phosphate and sodium saccharine.
- Restrict restaurant meal only two once or twice a week.
- Start “salt break day” in a week like fasting ( A full day without salt and controlled sodium) that will hold your salt sodium intake and increase your willpower and control over taste.
- Eat Potassium-rich natural foods like banana, orange, pomegranate, sweet potato, spinach, green vegetables and carrots but don’t use salt substitute with high potassium.
- Choose a low sodium diet when you eat outside the home read the label;
- Low sodium means sodium less than 140mg per serving.
- Reduced sodium means sodium 25% less sodium than regular.
- Very Low Sodium means sodium less than 35 mg per serving.
- Sodium free means sodium is less than 5 mg per serving.
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