Master Your Health: 7 Cooking Tips For Reducing Your Sodium
After tasting a delicious snack, have you ever caught yourself assuming that it might taste a little too good to be healthy? The shameful fact is that, more often than not, you are probably right. Foods that are delicious and tasty are usually the ones full of fats, sugar, and salt. It doesn’t take a master degree student in Psychology to know that even the sound of these three flavors in tandem will send your saliva glands into a screaming frenzy. And what is the best snack of all? A snack that combines all three of these components. Perhaps something like a gourmet bacon chocolate cupcake, which encapsulates chocolate and bacon into each sinful, salty-sweet (yet sadly fat-filled) bite.
Although sugars and fats are not healthful foods, salt may be the most destructive element of the three ingredients. Salt is an overused spice that can impact the severity of several health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. On average, most American men take in 10.4 grams of salt per day, while women consume 7.3 grams daily. Both of these statistics are well about the government’s recommendation of only 6 grams of salt per day. The results of a recent University of San Francisco (UCSF) study demonstrated that reducing sodium intake by twenty five percent can reduce risk of heart diseases as effectively as losing 5 per cent of body weight or taking hypertension medication.
For persons with demanding health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or those with chronic kidney disease, the recommended intake of sodium by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is 1,500 milligrams per day. It is a challenge to change something so personal and emotionally loaded as one’s diet, but here are seven tips to assist with the change.
Decreasing salt in the diet begins at home with food preparation. Eliminate salt when cooking altogether. After a short period of time the body will get used to the new subtle tastes that sodium overpowers in naturally flavored foods.
Take the salt shaker off of the dining room table so that it is an effort to be used. Most people will not leave the table to get the salt shaker; they will instead eat what is on their plate. Appeal to their inner sloth.
Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store for the freshest flavors, the dairy, bakery, and the produce section. Prepare dishes from fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned goods that often have added sodium. Processed foods, such as snacks, microwaveable dinners, etc. usually try to compensate for a lack of authentic flavor by loading up on the salt.
Try new menus at home with new seasonings. Introduce an ethnic foods night each week and choose recipes to test that do not include salt.
Substitute chicken broth for water to add flavor to rice or noodles. The extra boost from the broth will eliminate the need for salt but still tantalize the taste buds.
Squirt lemon juice on broccoli or fresh vegetables to enhance their flavors. Lemon juice taste similar to salt on the tongue but doesn’t have the sodium factor.
Instead of purchasing fast food, recreate the recipe at home with healthier ingredients. For nachos, bake the tortilla chips instead of frying and sprinkling with salt, add low salt cheeses and extra hot sauce to add zip to the flavor.