The average American, as you can probably expect, is something of a salt connoisseur: on average we consume 3400 milligrams of salt daily, a figure that far surpasses the 2300 milligram limit advised in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This poses a serious issue for many people. While sodium certainly has its benefits – the element balances fluids, controls muscle contraction, and regulates pH levels – it can lead to harmful consequences if consumed in excess over a long period of time. Some of these consequences are well-publicized, such as heart issues, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
Others, however, are not; salt consumption can increase the chances of Ménière’s disease and tinnitus, conditions both of which can lead to hearing loss.
Although a hearing loss cord blood clinical trial recently found that these issues can be countered through stem cell treatment, the fact remains that sodium is harmful for the average American at its current consumption level. But reducing our salt intake is easier said than done. After all, most of our foods contain salt and most of us are conditioned to desire the taste. So how can reduce lower and minimize our sodium intake in an effective manner? Here are a few tips:
-Take salt off the table. It’s one thing if we put salt in our meals from the onset, but many of us go the extra step and shake some extra sodium on our food while sitting at the kitchen table. The easy fix for this problem? Get rid of your salt shaker, or at least remove it from your dining area.
1) Cook more, eat out less. Processed foods and restaurant-cooked meals are, on average, far more salt intensive than a similar product cooked at home. As such, the extra time it takes you to cook in the kitchen could translate into substantial and immediate sodium reductions in your diet.
2) Substitute spices. We use salt so as to insure that our food doesn’t taste bland, but there are other products that can accomplish the same ends without the same consequences. Garlic, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and pepper are always great options in this regard.
3) Transition slowly. Sodium is not an addictive substance, but it nevertheless reflects an acquired taste that we desire more when our bodies are accustomed to higher consumption rates. This means that a gradual reduction of your salt intake can conceivably accomplish the ultimate goal – make you less desirous of salt in the first place. Such a move could stand to improve your eating habits for the long term.
Following these tips can hopefully help you reduce your sodium intake and bring your salt consumption in line with the dietary guidelines. Although sodium has its benefits, you probably can get those benefits without any added salt in your diet. As such, any reduction is an advantageous one – both for your heath and for the substance of your diet.