Losing weight is often a challenge, especially if your body has a slow rate of metabolism. You can usually lose weight with exercise and diet. You will usually have to reduce calorie intake to reduce weight. However, in many cases, you might not be able to monitor your sodium intake.
Sodium is a main component of salt, which is often used to season and flavor food. Salt can also be used as a preservative, so a lot of preserved and processed foods are high in sodium. While sodium can come naturally with food, too much of it can contribute to various health problems, such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, and the like.
One way to achieve a healthy diet, therefore, is to reduce sodium intake. Most people eat more sodium than the body needs, which is about 2,400 milligrams per day. This translates to about one teaspoon of salt per day. Cutting sodium from one’s diet will require discipline, awareness, and monitoring of one’s food intake.
Increase water intake. One way to counter the effects of too much sodium is by increasing your water intake. The recommended amount is usually eight to ten glasses per day. Some would substitute other fluids for water, like juices and carbonated soft drinks. These have high calorie content, though, and some even have too much sodium, such as diet sodas.
Eat fibrous fruits and veggies. Most people snack on chips and other “junk” food because they feel hungry in between meals. These are often too salty, and therefore high in sodium content. To avoid this, choose to munch on fruits and vegetables, instead. These make for good, healthy snacks. Getting enough fiber in your meals or after (for dessert) will help keep away those hunger pangs.
Go natural. Try to avoid processed food. These are usually full of preservatives, sodium included. Instead, try to go for fresh food as much as you can. Visit the deli or the grocer’s for fresh meats and produce. Fresh food tastes better, too.
Read before you eat. Food packaging has nutrition content labels, and this is for a very good reason. Use this to your advantage. You will need to read up on the content and nutritional value of your food before opening the package—sodium included. You will usually have to check how many servings there are per package, so you know how much you can eat. Remember, the normal amount is about 2,400 milligrams per day. If you are hypertensive, you will even have to consume less than that, or about 1,500 mg per day.
Use spices and seasoning blends. Most cooks will use salt and pepper to season foods while cooking. One way to reduce sodium intake is by using different spices and seasoning blends as an alternative to salt. These add flavor to meat, fish and other dishes, without necessarily increasing sodium. You can also use citrus juice and other herbs to substitute for salt.
Keep a food diary. One good way to watch what you’re eating is by keeping a food diary. Write down what you eat each meal, including the amounts and numbers of servings. If you can include the actual number (if you are eating prepared or packaged food, for instance) this can help. At the end of the day, add up the amount of sodium that you consume. If that’s still too much, then you will need to cut back on servings or on eating those dishes that are rich in sodium.