Monday, January 16, 2012

All you need to know about... SALT

Some like it, others don’t. Some add it to their plates without even tasting the food first. Others fear it because of its bad reputation. It is the infamous “Salt”. I’m sure many of you have questions regarding this seasoning item so I’ve tried as much as possible to answer all potential ones. But of course if you have some more, I’d be more than happy to include them…

Why do I need salt?
Sodium is the main constituent of table salt (40%). It is considered as a very important mineral to the body. It helps maintain body fluid and electrolyte balance. In fact, it is used to preserve the volume of fluids outside the cells. It is also essential to muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
So you see why it is indispensable and why we can’t completely eliminate it from our diet.

Why does salt have such a bad reputation?
As we explained, sodium draws water out of the cell. So, when in excess, it will draw too much water into your arteries and cause your blood pressure to rise. On the long run, this will lead to an increased risk of a disease called Arterial Hypertension (AHT). With high blood pressure, the heart becomes damaged and risk of death from stroke and heart disease climbs.
Please note that hypertension is not only due to sodium intake but other factors can contribute to it (genetics, other cardiovascular diseases, etc.).

Is it possible for me to be deficient in salt?
Blood sodium might drop in many cases. In fact, overly strict low-sodium diets in treatment of hypertension, kidney disease and heart disease can deplete the body of needed sodium. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be responsible for the latter. And finally, deficiency can be due to heavy sweating.
In order to prevent this lack of sodium, it is very important to consume sufficient amounts of salt in your diet; also, you should increase your intake when you’re experiencing either vomiting or diarrhea. And finally, during high intensity sports activities, you should drink lots of water and sports drinks that will replenish your body with the right minerals.

Does excess salt make me fat?
Excess salt makes you gain water weight. In fact, there’s always a sodium-water ratio that is maintained by the body.
Notice how every time you eat something salty, you feel thirsty right after. Well, when there’s an excess of sodium in your body, a series of events trigger thirst. After you drink, the excess salt and water will be removed by the kidneys and the ratio is restored. Water is needed in order to carry the sodium out of your body.
So normally, this water weight gained will be immediately excreted by your body. You don’t need to worry about getting fat from salt!

What’s the relationship between sodium and potassium?
You may have heard of this or it may be new to you. Potassium has the exact opposite function in the body than sodium. It draws water into the cell. Some studies show that people can modify their salt response by consuming potassium rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
So basically, in order to reduce disease risk, one should lower their sodium intake and higher their potassium intake. It sounds familiar right? More fruits and vegetables, less salt and salty foods!

So besides salt, where can I find sodium?
The most apparent source of sodium is salt of course. However, there are hidden sources of sodium one should pay attention to.
- Canned food: sodium helps preserve these foods. It would be preferable to go for frozen ones when available.
- Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc.
- Olives and pickles: they are marinated with salt. The latter can be removed from olives by submerging them in water for a few days. However, it’s nearly impossible to have salt-free pickles.
- Organ meats such as sausages
- Ham, turkey, mortadelle and especially the smoked ones.
- White cheeses: the extra salt can be removed the same way as olives. There are also versions low in salt to make your life easier!
- Quick and easy recipes: noodles, microwave popcorn, macaroni and cheese, etc.
- Seafood: it is naturally rich in sodium. You should limit its consumption to once every two weeks and focus more on fish.
- Baking soda
- Everything that contains MonoSodiumGlutamate (MSG). Check the food labels for this ingredient.

Always remember moderation is the key to a healthy diet! 


Rabih A. said...

I'm one of those who add salt to their plates without even tasting the food first!
Thank you for this post. Very informative! :D

cynthia said...

loveeee it!!

best partttt "Always remember moderation is the key to a healthy diet" :):)

Nadine Issa said...

Rabih: hope this post will make u think again when touching the salt next time :P
Cynthia: thank u so much :*

Stew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stew said...

I guess the best source of sodium aside from the obvious salt is no other than SPAM. That is just a canned salt, good for any hungry soul. But eat it only in moderation or you might end up in clinics in oceanside or any doctor near you.

Eden Parker said...

That is definitely true Stew. The fact that spam is really salty and I didn't knew that salty make us fat maybe I should visit my doctor at urgent care delaware.

Bella said...

Thanks for the healthy write-up. Being healthy is very essential nowadays and should avoid salty foods because it will caused diseases. This is also not healthy for our teeth, so we need to got to boca raton cosmetic dentist to know what's the latest about dental care.

jamie stint said...

Even though you are subscribed to a affordable health insurance in Perth, it is more important that you know some preventive measures to take in order not to be sick. Salt is really one of the additives that are good for your health.

Daisy Dee said...

I would definitely spend my money buying salt than paying for a medical billing specialist to compute my medical expenses because I got sick. It is important to know the benefits and disadvantages of salt in our body so we will be able to use it properly.

Albert Wood said...

It's nice to know that more medical centers are being constructed. This gives people an opportunity to have medical treatment more often. I remember when pacific walk in clinic opened up. They had a lot of patients just on their first week.

Jendine Anderssen said...

I didn’t know that salt can do such harm. There should be an artificial salt just like what manufacturers do with sugars.

sugar said...

I am a first time visitor an I can say that this post is really great. Very informative and I can really use this on my research on the topic titled "Inside the Internet World". Keep up the good work.

glycaemic index said...

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