Reducing sodium in your diet is a simple way to improve your health now. Reducing sodium will improve your energy and eliminate excess water weight which both conspire to make you feel sick and tired.
When the topic of excess sodium comes up with the patients of my San Diego Chiropractic clinic I often get responses like “I never add salt to my food”. As a side note, especially since it has relevance to reducing sodium, I often ask to check my patients’ blood pressure and hear responses similar to “my blood pressure is perfect – I take blood pressure medication”. Obviously when blood pressure is controlled by medication it is far from perfect.
Reducing Sodium is Easy
Anyway – getting back on track, most of the sodium that we get is already in the store bought foods that we eat. Sodium is added to foods as a preservative, it magnifies the sweetness of cakes and cookies, it helps disguise metallic or chemical tastes in soft drinks and it helps reduces the perceived dryness in snack foods such as crackers and pretzels. Of course all of this sodium makes us retain water and causes high blood pressure.
Estimates indicate that over 70% of the sodium in American diets comes from processed foods. Processed foods exist because they are convenient and sometimes for health safety reasons. Below is a partial list of processed foods that cause elevations in blood pressure. Reducing sodium is simply a matter of making healthier dietary choices.
- canned foods with large amounts of sodium, trans-fats or fat
- breads and pastas made with refined white flour instead of whole grains
- packaged snack foods such as chips and candies
- frozen fish sticks and frozen dinners are high in sodium
- packaged cakes, cookies and other sweets
- boxed meal mixes
- sugary breakfast cereals
- processed meats
The label below is from a processed food package. It is important to note the amount of sodium per serving as well as the number of servings per can. In this example, one serving contains 440mg of sodium which is fine but if you eat the entire contents of the container you will be taking in 1760mg of sodium which is entirely too much in one meal to be compatible with normal blood pressure.
The point is this – in order to reduce your sodium intake and subsequently your blood pressure, you have to substitute processed foods for fresh, organic foods. When you do eat processed foods, make sure that they have less than 300 mg sodium per serving. This sodium lowering strategy will lower your blood pressure and make you healthier.