Sodium is an integral part of human health. It allows the body to perform some very important tasks, like blood volume and blood pressure regulation. However, just like most other things, sodium is only good in moderation. Overeating sodium-packed foods can lead to a huge number of serious, life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, most of the people in America consume way more sodium than they should.
The recommended daily allowance of sodium is 1,500 milligrams or less. The minimum amount the body needs is 500 mg. Americans, however, consume about 3,400 mg of sodium every single day, leading to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year. When consumed in excess, sodium causes high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death for women in the US. About 200,000 women alone die due to high blood pressure every year. Compare that to the approximately 40,000 annual deaths due to breast cancer and you begin to realize the scope of the sodium problem.
Cook for yourself to avoid high-sodium foods
While adding salt-free seasonings to your meals instead of pure table salt is a great way to reduce your sodium intake, most of the sodium that the average American gets each year is from processed and packaged foods. Our grocery stores supply us with most of the extremely sodium-rich foods that we eat on a regular basis, with restaurants being the next biggest source. About 10% of the sodium American consume is from home cooking. It’s easy to see already that the more you cook for yourself and the less salt you use in your recipes, the healthier your diet will become.
To truly control your sodium intake, it’s important to read the labels on the packaged foods you buy. Foods that have high amounts of sodium may not even taste salty. Breads and rolls are a good example of a food that many people never even associate with sodium. Pay close attention to the amount of sodium found in each serving of the foods you buy—also, be sure to pay attention to how many servings you eat. Foods can be labeled “sodium free” and “salt free” when they contain 5 milligrams or less of sodium per serving. To be a “low sodium” food it must contain 140 mg or less per serving.
Keep the flavor, ditch the salt
Cutting out most of the sodium in your diet doesn’t mean that you have to cut out most of the flavor in your diet. In fact, many people find that when they use salt-free seasoning blends (like the ones in our store) in their favorite meals, they discover new flavors that are even better. Salt has dominated our diets for so long that we forget there are better options. Salt is simply the cheapest, easiest, and, consequently, most unhealthy seasoning. Try a low-sodium diet and experience all the health benefits that come with it!
Check out our salt-free recipes for some great ideas of where to begin!