When choosing meat substitutes, be careful about their sodium content. This can easily push such foods into the unhealthy category. But salt can be sneaking up on you in other ways, too. Here's how to avoid it.
- How much salt is too much?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, you should not consume more than 2,300mg of salt every day. This works out to be one tablespoon of table salt - this is it! No more!
- Hey, where's the salt hiding?
If you can get by on just a tiny sprinkling of salt and no more daily, you’re on the right track. But don’t forget: salt, just like sugar, can be hidden in many foods that you might not even realize you’re consuming them. Such foods include some cereals, bread, canned beans and soups.
- Is salt really that bad?
Okay, so you love sprinkling salt over everything, but it’s really not good for you. Sodium is necessary for the body in small amounts - it helps to ensure muscle contractions as well as other basic bodily functions, for example. However, if you have too much it can boost your blood pressure, putting pressure on the heart to work harder. Hypertension can result in strokes or heart disease.
Cut down your salt intake by choosing foods that contain low quantities of salt. You can ensure this by checking ingredients lists when shopping. Look out for 'low sodium' or 'very low sodium' labels. Best of all, of course, is 'sodium free'. When cooking, use other flavour enhancers, such as spices or herbs, that boost the taste of meals in healthier ways. When preparing beans for dinner, make sure you always drain the canned ones and rinse them very well under water. This can help to cut their sodium content by up to 40 per cent, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
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