Posts Tagged ‘sodium’

Pass the salt?

Last week I had a conversation with my Grandmother where she was telling me about her current health concerns.  She said she has been experiencing swollen feet, difficulty breathing and has recently made a trip to the cardiologist.  After listening for a few minutes I began asking her questions about her diet and daily activity levels, trying to figure out the culprit behind her poor health.  I felt the need to dive further into these health related ailments and uncovered some very interesting facts that could be causing some of my Grandmother’s illness.  It turns out this particular discussion turned into a topic for this week’s blog: sodium.

Like anything in excess, a diet high in sodium can have detrimental implications on our bodies.  Don’t get me wrong, the human body does require small amounts of sodium to carry out many of our vital functions, but like everything it’s a balancing act that requires some thought and consideration.  Too much or too little salt can cause anything from muscle cramps, dizziness, electrolyte disturbances, stroke, cardiovascular disease, edema (fluid retention) and even stomach cancer.

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of sodium according to the Food and Drug Administration in Canada is between 1500mg – 2300mg/day.  This sounds like a lot but do you know how much salt you consume every day? Consider the amount of salt present in one can of soup (1000mg) or a single slice of store bought pizza (900mg). Some food items that contain the largest amounts of sodium are processed meats, and packaged foods like chips, crackers and T.V. dinners. Unsurprisingly, fast-food is the worst of the worst!

Hmmm…are you seeing a pattern developing here?  If you have read any of my previous blogs you will be noticing the similarities.  I am constantly stressing how important it is to eat whole foods and prepare as many meals as you can at home.  This allows you to have total control over how much and what type of fat, sugar and salt you add to your food.  A good rule of thumb is that if you cook with salt you likely won’t need to add salt at the table or vice-versa.  Do whatever works for you and your family.

Salt comes in several different forms and has many different uses.  The best form of salt for human consumption is Himalayan sea salt.  Unlike processed white table salt, which is void of many key minerals, Himalayan salt contains over 80 minerals and trace minerals, is unprocessed, unrefined and tastes amazing.  Himalayan salt has a grayish or pink hue and is hand-mined from salt caves around the world.  You can buy this salt at your natural health food store or natural food section of your local grocer.  It can be purchased in “rock” form and requires a salt grinder or pre-crushed and can easily replace your current white table salt.

Prevention is always key and it’s the little changes we make that overtime go a long way.  By switching your household salt shaker to sea salt you are doing your family a favour.


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