How do I reduce my salt intake and is there a specific diet I can follow, because I really have no idea how much salt I'm having now?

Salt is an important source of Sodium, which is used by the body to control the heart beat, generate electrical messages needed for the contraction of muscles and nerve transmission. While sodium is vital to the human body, an excess of sodium can cause much harm to the body. Body size and weight help to decide the sodium consumption of a person. However according to the USDA, the recommended daily allowance for sodium consumption is 2400 milligrams per day, which is just over a teaspoon of salt, but average consumption is usually much higher. Natural sources of sodium include beets (80 mg per boiled cup), raw celery (100 mg), spinach (130 mg per boiled cup), steamed oysters (380 mg per 3 ounces) and steamed shrimp (390 mg per 3 ounces). Pickled and processed foods such as pickles, olives, smoked fish, cheese, chips, dips etc usually contain very high levels of sodium.

If your sodium intake is more than required, you will notice certain symptoms which should serve as an efficient reminder to reduce your salt intake, since that is the highest source of sodium. The first symptoms noticed are swelling and the decrease of urination. Since sodium is also directly related to blood pressure, an increased sodium intake will have a direct effect on your blood pressure, leading to an increase. Excessive intake of sodium can also have an effect on the heart and lead to heart disease. Reducing sodium intake can have such wonderful benefits as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease, decreasing water retention and consequently reducing your weight. It is a wise day to reduce your daily intake of salt.

First and foremost, avoid adding extra salt to your food. You can even ask restaurants to omit or reduce the salt added to your food. Even at home, monitor your salt intake and conscientiously reduce the amount of salt you add to your food. When cooking at home, always add the salt towards the end since the salty taste gets muted as you cook, making you add more salt to the food later. If you add the salt at the end, the taste is on the top layer. Review your diet and ensure that it does not include too many rich sources of sodium such as beets, spinach, oysters and shrimp. If you find your diet high in sodium consumption, try and balance this by increasing foods rich in potassium, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. You can consult a dietician to get the ideal balance of nutrients. Another important step is to check the sodium levels on the labels of all packed food: cereals, crackers, pasta, canned vegetables and other pickled and processed foods. Opt for foods with lower percentage of sodium. It goes without saying that you should immediately and consciously cut down on all salty foods, such as chips, nuts, salted meats, sauces such as soy sauce, stock cubes etc.

answered by G M

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