Many foods that are a part of our diet contain considerable amounts of salt. Consumed in higher than optimal amounts, sodium can have deleterious effects on our health. Keep reading to find out about low-sodium alternatives…
Here Comes Salinity
Sodium is the main component of table salt, sodium chloride, making up nearly half of it by composition. While trace amounts of sodium are essential for a healthy body, the average American takes in far more than that!
Increased sodium levels can result in high blood pressure, which in turn is the main cause behind heart attacks and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, we should be consuming less than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily.
It might seem hard to cut down on sodium when everything is full of it…
The Incredible Saltiness of it all
When you add a quarter teaspoon of salt to a dish, you increase your sodium uptake by 600 mg sodium. The amount doubles with ½ tsp of salt and becomes 2,300 mg for one whole teaspoon!
Getting Lost in the Saltiness
You might be thinking you can’t eat anything with so much sodium clogging all the foods. However, this isn’t the time to look at the bigger picture. You need to start small and these changes will go a long way in making that happen:
- You might be a fan of baked beans that come in a can or readymade marinara sauce. However, both of these food choices – and a dozen others – will have to change. Try to eat as much of produce in fresh or frozen form as you can. Canned fruits and veggies might make life temporarily easy but the only way they preserve their flavor is through scary amounts of salt!
- If you like snacking on nuts and seeds while watching your favorite show, switch to the unsalted variety.
- We love salt so much because it adds complexity to a dish. There are layers upon layers of flavor that come from adding salt. However, you can achieve a similar effect through addition of flavored oils, such as walnut, sesame seed, and pumpkin seed oils. They make salads and veggie dishes tastier!
- Since baking soda is also a source of sodium – though with a different formula – it shouldn’t be consumed in high amounts either. Eggs are a surprising substitute for baking soda. While the proportion will depend on the recipe, it is safe to assume that an egg has the leavening power equal to ½ tsp of baking soda.
- Stop using pre-made salad dressings because they are packed with saltiness. Instead, whip up some olive oil with vinegar for a sodium-free dressing. Try out different vinegars for flavor variations!
There are so many ways to make your life a salt-free zone. It is an important lifestyle change to make, which is why Chef Ayhan’s includes low sodium alternatives in his book of recipes based on the Mediterranean Diet. Buy it on Amazon!