Salt – or sodium – is found in every meal we have in a day. While it appears naturally in most foods, we tend to add more to our food. Most of the time, we add it to get more flavor out of our meals. This is especially true as we grow older. As we age, the number of taste buds on our tongues decreases. Also, by age 60, we have a hard time distinguishing one taste from another. Therefore, it can be easy to consume more salt than what we should have daily.
Salt & The Human Body
Sodium does help our body with certain daily functions. It balances the fluids in your body, helps with nerve communication and muscle actions. In addition, your kidneys work closely with sodium in your own body. Depending on how much sodium is in the body, your kidneys will either hold onto or get rid of that sodium. Overall, this small ingredient helps keep your body in check, in one way or another.
There is, however, some caution to this. In fact, having too much sodium can cause some health issues. Too much sodium can cause your heart to work harder than needed, along with adding a lot of pressure on your arteries. The kidneys are affected as well since they are trying to level out your body’s sodium content. In addition, salt pulls water from the body’s cells, from the muscles and other organs. This excess in water in the body causes you to go to the bathroom more often, and you will feel dehydrated for a while.
Other Symptoms to Watch?
Aside from feeling dehydrated, you will experience a few other symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms is a headache. Again, due to there being a lot of sodium in the body, your heart works overtime to get blood and oxygen to the brain. Not to mention, the rest of the body. Because of this, you start feeling pulsing pain in your forehead and neck.
Regarding the heart, you may also experience high blood pressure, which can lead to other health concerns.
Ways to Help Cut Back on Salt…
The average amount for an adult is around 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. This means we don’t want to eat more than that, if possible. Luckily, there are various ways to help control your sodium intake.
Preparing Homemade Meals
One option is to prepare your own meals, if possible. This does mean limiting the number of packaged foods (canned, frozen, etc.) you buy when shopping.
If you do buy packaged foods, look at the Nutrition Facts labels. They help explain not only how much calories and carbs are in each serving, but also the amount of sodium. Items with a lot of sodium in them – thanks to the labels – can be rinsed over while preparing your meals.
Spice Things Up!
Along with these options, you may want to consider using other condiments and spices. Popular spices like garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and other herbs can be added to give your meals the tastes you’re looking for.
Using other spices for flavor will help limit your use of table salt while cooking.
Meal Sizes & Dressings
Eating smaller portions, and using light or reduced sodium dressings, help as well.
Remember, even when you don’t add salt to your food, you might still be eating or drinking too much salt from processed food, also called “fast food.”
Choosing healthier food options, or limiting how much salt you take in, will help you in the long run.
Less Salt Means a Healthier Body
The main goal is to lower how much salt we add into our bodies. We can still sprinkle some salt on our meals. By lowering our sodium levels, we help our bodies stay balanced, along with helping our hearts work easier than before. Keeping our hearts healthy and pumping can make us feel healthy as well.