Does your body hold excess water, making you swell like a balloon on the day of your bathing suit photo shoot? Is your face swollen and do you have puffy eyes when you wake up in the morning? Is your skin extremely dry and are wrinkles – a models nightmare! – starting to show? In that case, I suggest you read on …
Why is taking too much salt a bad thing?
Well, it is actually not the salt that is a bad thing; it’s the sodium of which the salt partly exists of (besides chlorine) that makes abundant intake a problem. In this way, excessive salt intake can have a negative influence on your body, like dry skin, water retention, high blood pressure, weakness, difficulty controlling muscles, headache, heart disease and in extreme cases, excessive intake can cause a coma.
What products contain sodium?
Sodium can be found in many products, varying from fresh vegetables to crisps. Products that contain high levels of sodium are cheese, smoked en prepared meats, bread, milk, soups, stock cubes, sauces like mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce and mustard, cereals, salted snacks, bacon, foods from a jar or can and products that have salt added to it.
If you want to cut back on your sodium intake, it’s best to cut back on these products and read ingredient labels: they tell you when salt is added and you can keep an eye on the sodium values. Don’t let “healthy choice” certifications (like the Dutch ‘Ik kies bewust” logo which means “I choose consciously”) lead you; a lot of these products still contain too much sodium and therefore cannot be marked as a healthy choice.
How do I know if my daily intake is too high?
The max daily advised sodium intake is 2.4 gram, which can be found in 6 gram kitchen salt, but no more than 500 mg sodium (or 1,5 g kitchen salt) is needed per day. Working out a lot? You probably sweat a lot, which causes a more than normal loss of sodium. You’ll do good by taking a little extra sodium (and minerals). These can be found in sports drinks, but be careful: check the labels, since a lot of these drinks contain sugar and chemicals like colouring.
How can I reduce my sodium intake?
1. Check the ingredient labels on your food
Does it contain added salt? Opt for another brand of the same food that does not contain added salt or contains less added salt.
2. Check the nutritional values
Check the sodium value. The lower the value, the better.
3. Use fresh ingredients
Use fresh ingredients to prepare your meal. Make your own pasta sauce for instance, with fresh tomatoes, herbs and olive oil. Careful with the herbs though, since a lot of dried herb mixtures contain added salt.
4. You’re in control
By following steps 1, 2 and 3, you can determine how much salt you add to your meals yourself.
Sodium is extremely important for your body, so you don’t want to eat too little sodium. As said before, sodium can be found in a lot of fresh products like vegetables, so the chance of taking in too little sodium is quite an unlikely scenario.
In conclusion, it’s best to be moderate with salt, use alternatives like herbs to flavour your food, avoid canned food and food from glass jars and to check the ingredient labels.
Stay in good health and good luck with cooking fresh!