Sodium is an essential mineral for life but consuming more than the essential amounts can make life miserable. Needed for controlling our body’s fluid balance, muscle function and nerve impulses, too much of the mineral can increase blood pressure. The excess sodium in the bloodstream can pull water into your blood vessels and increase the amount of blood flowing through your blood vessels. When there is more blood flowing through your blood vessels, blood pressure increases and this puts more pressure on the heart and forces it to pump blood harder.
Also called as the ‘silent killer’, this blood pressure increase is a major risk factor for heart disease, the No.1 killer worldwide. The primary element here is to reduce sodium intake (specifically those above the age of 50 and people having elevated BP levels and diabetes) that is the root cause for a series of health consequences.
Food List: Top Picks
It is not our daily salt that we use in the kitchen for cooking, but mostly our processed, prepackaged and restaurant foods that add unimaginable quantities (almost 70%) of sodium to our body. The rest is added from natural foods (approximately 15%) or from the foods that we cook. United States’ leading national public health institute has released the top 25 foods (purchased from/eaten outside) that add most sodium to an individual’s diet and surprisingly, even foods that we have assumed till now to be least salty contain more sodium.
It is a long list that covers most of the items that any of us wish to eat. This does not mean that you must avoid eating any of these foods. It is up to you to select the foods that contain minimal sodium or cut down portion sizes of your favorite foods, at least to begin with. Such small changes and inclinations to change can make big differences. The suggestions below can help you select the foods with the least amount of sodium:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.