Foods to Avoid: Salt
Welcome back to another episode of Foods to Avoid. Today we’re going to be talking about salt – the good, the bad and the even worse. I want to start off by saying salt is an essential mineral in the body. We need it for a lot of things: fluid balance, acid balance, it helps carry nutrients throughout your body. So, sodium plays an essential, key in balancing your body.
The recommended dosage of sodium is 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day. Let me give you an idea of what this would look like. If you added no salt to any foods that you eat, and you ate no refined foods, no prepared foods, you’d still get between 500 and 1,000 mg per day. Which is completely adequate and right in that recommended in that daily dose.
Just to give us an idea, it’s interesting to note that average American eats much more than that. Let me give you an idea. If you eat a lot of refined foods, mostly refined foods, and prepared foods — “hello takeout” — you’re probably consuming about 10,000 mg of sodium per day. You can see how this is seven to 10 times the recommended daily intake. And that’s why it’s become a big deal. It’s not that sodium on its own is bad, it’s that the over consumption of sodium.
And I know you’ve heard this before, you’re probably always wondered “Yes, but why?”. So let’s talk a little about the “whys” of sodium. First off, I want to say most table salt is made up of sodium chloride, the combination of the two. So, you get some of each mineral and too much of both, if that makes sense.
I also want to note that all kinds of things have sodium in them; cheeses, seafood naturally has a lot of sodium in it. Prepare foods, restaurant foods, the list goes on and on. We are used to sodium at a very young age. In fact, the American Medical Association came out with a study that said toddler foods are outrageously high in sodium. So much so that the average is between 500 and 600 mg of sodium per serving for toddler food. So you can imagine what we get in our adult portion-size food.
And why get that? Not only has been linked to really high blood pressure, we all know that. But nowadays it has been linked to a number of other diseases: cancer, heart disease, the list goes on and on. Diabetes. And the American Medical Association came out with a study in March 2013 that one in every 10 deaths is linked to the overconsumption of sodium.
Just because sodium causes that much strain on the body, to have such an incredible amount of it.
So, if you’re a sodium addict. I can’t say I’m not. At our house, we cut it really low sodium. But now that I’m five months pregnant, I’ve been craving it too.
So it’s time to find some alternatives. How can we cut back, so we can stay healthy? Well, you’ve all heard of salt alternatives. It’s usually a bunch of herbs and I’ve never felt satiated with them. I’m sorry, but adding more pepper to my food doesn’t make it have more sodium. And as a chef, I got to tell you… one of the things they really teach in chef school is how to get the salt right.
Salt enhances all flavor. It makes sweetness sweeter. It makes acid more acidic. Any flavor at all, in enhances it. So, I spent years trying to perfect how to get that salt content right. It’s been a whole unlearning for me to say “start from scratch, cut back on sodium.” And I slowly cut back on sodium a day at a time. Until now body’s at a really good place and I really try to hit those recommended dosages.
And now that I’m pregnant, I’m really craving sodium and I’m looking for alternatives and I’ve been looking and looking and what do I find? Sodium. So there’s a low sodium salt. And guess what? I found it like lite salt. It just didn’t kill my cravings. It was a little lite. The sodium alternatives like I said, it just didn’t hit the spot.
So I dug a little deeper and I found that some alternatives that might really hit the spot and really help us cut back on sodium intake at the same time. And here’s my suggestion: mineral salt.
And why are these so great? Well, I told you earlier, most table salt is just sodium and chloride together. Mineral salts are a combination of many minerals, including sodium and chloride, but it usually has got a number of other minerals as well, potassium and, gee, that really depends on where it comes from. That way with each serving, the sodium content is a little bit lower. And you get the benefits of all the other minerals in there too.
I’m not saying use tons of it. I’m saying cut it back, but this is a nice alternative to your normal table salt. I want to go through a few of them with you because I’m really excited about all the options that there are today.
I’ve got pink Himalayan salt here. I’ve got pink sea salt here. I’ve got some grey salt here, which has become one of my favorites. I’ve truffle sea salt here. Yummy. I love finishing off a dish with it, rather than adding it at the beginning of a dish, a nice little finisher and I get that pop of salt, those granules.
And here, I even have a Aleppo Chile salt. The list nowadays is endless, and it’s how do I use salt? How do I cut back on salt? And I’ve got a few suggestions for you.
You know what? Each day, cut back a little bit at a time.Like I said you can use some of these not just for cooking but as finishing salt. Because when you feel the granules pop, you’ll still get your salt sensation. It’s amazing that salt is a little bit like sugar. The more you eat it, the more you crave it, the more you find it necessary to find your food satiating. But the more you start cutting back little by little, the less you’ll need it if you appreciate the natural salt that’s in your food.
Pay attention. Your fish, just as they are, are salty. I never noticed that before. Even some of the vegetables, the leafy greens that I love so much, have a lot of minerals in them. So, they’re naturally pretty salty as well. And I realized that I didn’t need so much salt in these and I could take salt away from here, put it in things that are really important to me. And that way, I really hit a good balance. I got to tell you, the less salt I eat, also, the less water you hold on to. You’ll shed a couple pounds and you’ll overall feel better. Your body will just work better.
Also, don’t forget all those disease that come from over consumption of salt, so just think that the wonderful benefits that come with cutting out salt. I got to say, as someone who has very low blood pressure, I always ask my husband, who you all know is a physician “Why should I care about salt raising my blood pressure?” He taught me something interesting. The older we get, our blood pressure naturally raises. And it’ll keep raising as we get older. As we get older, there’s very little we can do about it. But there’s a lot we can do about it while we’re still healthy and that’s to start watching out now. What is that we’re eating?
Just become conscious of it. And as we get old, become a little stricter with it. And if you have issues, become really strict with it. But like I said, you can indulge now and then, just find the right salt to substitute for your table salt.
I hope this helps and for more videos like this, go to Illuminutri.com where have lots of lifestyle tips to make your life better, healthier and happier. Thanks for joining us today.