Salt is a valuable ingredient that has been used from time immemorial to flavour food and preserve fresh livestock. In ancient times, it was an extremely valuable commodity.
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In some parts of Nigeria, it was exchanged weight for weight with gold. Because of its scarce nature, it was used sparingly.
Today, salt is still valuable; our body needs it and our food needs it too. However, what was once scarce has become common. These days, salt can be found in our kitchen, dining room and even bathroom.
One thing we must note is that salt is sodium chloride. Forty percent of it is sodium while the rest is chloride. It is also noteworthy that despite being an essential commodity, excess consumption of salt can create health problems like kidney disease, hypertension, osteoporosis.
Thus, there is a need for people to reduce their salt intake in order to preserve their health. We can cultivate better salt habits by doing the following:
Read Food Labels
When you walk through the food aisle selecting groceries, don’t just pick your favoured brand of food item and go. Take a few minutes to check the sodium content on the label. Compare it with that of various brands of that same product.
Do not buy a brand because you love the taste of their product or because it’s your favourite. Buy a brand because it has the lowest sodium content. After all, your favourite brand will do nothing to restore your health if it fails as a result of sodium related issues.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Most of the sodium in people’s diet comes from processed foods. This is why you need to prepare your own meals. Cooking your meals gives you control over what goes into it.
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However, one thing we must learn while cooking our meals is to add salt late into the cooking so as to allow the food to release its flavours; learning this will prevent over-salting. We must also learn to use spices and seasoning with little or no sodium and if we must add salt to food, it should be done sparingly.
Retrain your Taste Bud
We were not born with the taste for salt; we acquired it. If we really want to, we can unlearn what we learnt. All that is required to achieve this is patience and consistency. But once you learn to enjoy foods with low sodium quantity, eating salty food will be difficult.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Downsizing your portions will not just help you to lose weight, it will also help you to reduce your salt consumption. So, try and reduce your portions.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
Research indicates that the body needs more potassium than sodium. Fruits and vegetables are low in sodium but they are good sources of potassium. Therefore, if you eat more fruits, you’ll boost your potassium level while reducing the sodium level.
Finally, you are what you eat. Thus, if you want to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, then, you should work hard to reduce your salt intake.
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