My food won’t taste good at all if I don’t add salt to it. Salt has become a habit to such an extent that we not only use it while cooking but add extra from the top too. We need salt for enhancing our fruits’ tastes too. Surprising isn’t it??
Salt namely Sodium chloride contains 40% of sodium in it. We add this salt to most of our foods/recipes and thus it is considered to be the major source of sodium to our body. Also the sodium we are talking about is not completely bad the way it’s being projected. Sodium also performs some important functions in our body like regulating the nerves and muscles, controlling the blood pressure and thus the sodium concentrations need to be carefully controlled by the body. Most of us consume far more sodium than what our body would actually need. This excess sodium causes the body to retain too much water in the blood vessels which causes a rise in the blood pressure thereby increasing the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and even stroke.
Our daily limit of sodium consumption per day is given as 2300 mg which is actually completed by 1 teaspoon of our table salt itself. Surprised?
Now give a thought to how much salt and thereby sodium are we consuming!!
So are you thinking that you don’t really consume that much of salt specially because you don’t sprinkle salt from top or not even add much to your daily food?
Research in fact shows that 75% of salt or more precisely sodium comes from the processed and preserved foods that we consume on a daily basis which we might not even consider to be really overly salty.
One vegetable wrap with loads of cheese, tomato sauce and mayonnaise in it can give you sodium for next 7 days. Thus, this is the extra sodium you consume in addition to any extra salt to your food at home.
Solution for this is not of course cutting all sodium/salt out of your diet but let’s try to strike a chord somewhere in the middle.
Here is a salt check and a few tips to help us to cut down our salt intake and thereby our sodium intake too.
- Cut down your all obviously salty foods like salted nuts, fried moong dal, farsan, chips, powders, cheese, pickles, sauces, dry fruits, dry fish etc.
- Look out for the hidden sources of sodium and salt. Baked items, breads, whole bread too, biscuits, breakfast cereals even if they are sweet, stir in masalas, table sauces, soup powders, tinned fruits, vegetables, canned juices, frozen patties, parathas, nuggets, sausages contain loads of sodium and should be restricted as much possible. It is not always sodium chloride but it can be other salts of sodium like citrate, sorbitrate, glutamate, benzoate, carbonate, bicarbonate etc. MSG or monosodium glutamate present in soya sauce, schezwan and chilli sauce – the main sauces in our Chinese version foods is again extremely salty a very high source of sodium.
- Try to google for the preservatives- the E- series- you will be surprised to see that almost many salts of sodium are used for your favorite foods.
- Buy fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals, pulses and not their remix version.Try to obtain the goodness of cereal from the wholegrain s instead of breads and pastries. Natural foods contain far less sodium than the preserved ones. Start eating the fresh homemade food. Use healthy cooking methods.
- Instead of salt, use herbs, spices to season your cooking. Lime juice, tamarind, kokam, vinegar, garlic, black pepper, and cinnamon help to add the flavor. Try making different marinade and spicy rubs to add flavor to your foods instead of plain salt.
- Taste your food before adding the entire quantity of salt you plan to add.
- Take the salt off your dining table. If you have to always go and get your salt you tend not to bother to get it. You can cut down your salt by adding less to your food slowly day by day. Research suggests that if salt is decreased very slowly it is not even realized.
So finally next time if you forget to add salt in your vegetable, stop yourself from adding extra salt and instead try eating the vegetable just without salt. Initially you may find it difficult. But soon you may realize that what tastes now is the original taste of the vegetable and the spices or herbs that you have added to it. It might prove to be a pleasant surprise to your taste buds too. This effort needs to be taken from our side as we all are aware that excess salt consumption can act as a silent killer in the body.