Anyone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure knows that the amount of sodium that is consumed needs to be reduced. However, even though high blood pressure is the most common ailment associated with high levels of sodium, it is not the only complication that high sodium levels create.
Since sodium controls the amount of fluid that the body retains, it aids in maintaining blood volume. Therefore, high levels of sodium in the system can cause water retention, leading to swelling in the legs and feet. Water retention around the lungs can cause breathlessness and short breathing. If the water is held in the system for too long, there is also a higher probability of kidney stones. Acute overdose can cause extreme conditions like bleeding, nausea, and sometimes even death.
If you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, then you need to follow a strict diet regimen that limits sodium intake to the bare minimum (or none at all, if possible).
The body needs a certain minimum amount of sodium in a day, and most of this sodium can be obtained from the natural sodium that is present in most foods. Adding salt to a dish during the preparation stage is not actually a requirement of the body. However, we all know that giving up salt completely is not an easy task.
The reason why it is so difficult to give up salt is because it enhances the flavor of all foods that we consume. Manufacturers add salt in processed foods because it acts as a preservative, killing bacteria that spoil food. Even carbonated drink manufacturers add a certain amount of salt to their formula to camouflage the chemical taste of the product.
It remains a fact that for those at a higher risk of high blood pressure (and other health-conscious people), limiting sodium intake is a necessity that needs to be explored. Some tips that can help reduce your overall sodium intake are listed below:
- Remove the salt shaker from the dining table.
- Reduce the intake of processed and canned foods.
- Always read the label while buying products. Avoid foods that contain salt, baking powder, and brine. Buy products that are marked as ‘low sodium’, ‘very low sodium’, ‘without added salt’ or ‘sodium-free’.
- Turn to home-cooked food, and flavor your food by using options like herbs, seasoning, lemon and spices. Use salt substitutes after consultation with your doctor.
- Do not use softened water for cooking, as it contains added salt.
- If you are buying over-the-counter medicines, check the ingredients label and do not purchase medicines that contain sodium bicarbonate.
- Turn to fresh fruits, raw vegetables and unprocessed whole grains.
If you are susceptible to water retention, reducing salt intake can help you lose weight considerably. It should be the first step in your attempt to lose weight naturally, since adopting a low sodium diet can help you in achieving natural weight loss more quickly.