The mineral sodium is found in small quantity in almost all the food items and it is also present in dairy products and meat naturally. It is found in water and it is also added in many forms to the food products. Sodium is need by the body to maintain the fluid balance but too much sodium can cause excess retention of water in body which can have severe consequences. On an average people take more than 1,500 mgs to 2,500 mgs of sodium per day.
People who do a lot of exercise or eliminate a good amount of sodium from body by exercising and sweating are allowed to take sodium up to 3000 mg per day. A personalized amount of sodium is needed by each individual depending on the body’s immunity system and lifestyle. The requirement of sodium for human body is just 69 mg per day and depending on other conditions a high sodium diet raises the risk of a number of diseases such as congestive heart failure, kidney problems, cirrhosis, hypertension, diabetes and Meniere’s disease.
A low sodium diet helps in controlling the blood pressure, water build up and swelling. It can also be helpful in reducing breathing problems which is caused as the heart is weakened by certain medical condition.
Some of the common food products which are high in sodium are soy, sauces, salad dressings, baking soda, baking powder, barbecue sauce, garlic salts, onion salt, lemon pepper and meat tenderizers. Meats such as smoked and cured meat which includes ham, bacon, corned beef and sausages are high in salt. Pickled food items are also good source of sodium. One should avoid these food products if one is suffering from health problem caused by high sodium intake and make a diet chart which includes only low sodium products.
Some of the food products which are low in sodium are
Fresh fruits, lean meats, vegetables, unprocessed grains, fish, poultry, certain seasoning such as lemon pepper and hot sauces are low in sodium. Dried and fresh herbs, onion powder, cloves, ginger, cumin and basil can be taken to raise the spicy taste instead of using salt.
2. Macaroni, rice, barley, pasta and noodles can be taken in unsalted form.
3. Increase use of honey, unsalted butter, unsalted cheese, fresh lamb or egg.
4. Skimmed milk and yoghurt should be taken regularly.
Tips to reduce sodium in diet are
1. Read the salt content on the labels of different products you select from a store. Include the foot items which contain a low quantity of sodium.
2. Use salt substitute after taking instruction from your physician.
3. Use a number of herbs to improve the taste instead of using salt.
4. Eat home cooked meals to reduce intake of sodium.
5. Reduce intake of food items which have high quantity of sodium written on the labels. For example baking powder has sodium content. There are many other chemicals and preservatives used in food products which may contain sodium.
6. Avoid intake of medication which are high in salt.
7. Do not take water which has a high quantity of salt. Use softened water for drinking.
8. Ask for low sodium diet when you are dinning out, and do not take items having salt and pepper sprinkled on them.