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Eating Too Much Salt Because We Can't Cook?
Since ancient times, salt has been a valued commodity with an importance greater than gold at certain points in our collective history. To our ancestors, getting sufficient []salt was all-important for maintaining individual health[], for use as an antibiotic and for preserving food to ensure survival in times of scarcity. Whole trading empires existed simply to move salt from the mines or ocean shores on which it was harvested all the way to the consumers who paid relatively far more for it than we do now. The ancient Mayans harvested salt from the ocean and it was extracted from mines in China and in Africa. Exotic cities like Timbuktu became known because of salt.

As we all know, in modern times salt is a commodity with very little commercial value and as a result very little cost. However, at an individual level []we have by no means lost our deep desire for the substance[]. Much of the food that we buy in our stores has significant amounts of salt in it and many of the foods that we traditionally eat also have an unhealthy dose. Our sense of taste attributes great value to the presence of salt in the foods we eat. Unfortunately this []primitive hard wiring to enjoy salt has strong negative consequences[] on our health in the modern world.

While excess salt or sodium can cause a number of negative effects on the body, the primary effect for which it is known is hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension affects almost 30% of Americans, 40% of Britains and often leads to heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control in the US, a whopping 70% of Americans should be on a low sodium diet because of the risks that they face. This number is less surprising, however, when we consider that the average daily salt intake in the US is roughly 50% more than the recommended limit.

In addition to the personal health effects, hypertension and the resulting heart disease also have a huge effect on society, costing nearly 60 billion for strokes and more than 60 billion for heart attacks annually. In fact, each year in the US, 1 in 450 people will experience a stroke and 1 in 200, a heart attack. Of those who experience a heart or stroke, 30% will die. These numbers are too high especially when we consider that research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined that by simply placing those at risk on a low sodium diet, the risk of death can be cut by 26%.

However, excess sodium is not just of importance for cardiovascular health. Excess sodium intake contributes to kidney stones in people at all ages and those who have suffered a kidney stone at one point are often placed on a low sodium diet to prevent getting more of them. Some evidence also suggests that excess salt intake increases the risks of asthma. Lastly, excess sodium in the diet has also been linked to increased rates of osteoporosis.

So what are we to do about this for our health? Well, given that 75-80% of the salt we take in comes from processed foods where the food makers cheated instead of making truly flavorful foods, a very simple answer is to do more cooking at home. The unprocessed fruits, vegetables and meats that we buy in our grocery stores contain negligible amounts of salt and sugar for that matter so if we ate at home more often with food that we cooked ourselves, we would be much healthier at the end of the day. While largely relying on gut feel, most of our grandparents and older parents would likely agree with this finding as well. They mostly grew up before the time of our modern heavily processed foods.

Now many of you may roll your eyes at the thought of cooking your meals yourself or may be fearful of eating what you have cooked, but it is really not that hard to cook and sometimes one can in fact derive satisfaction from the exercise by sharing the efforts with others. In addition, in these tough economic times, anything that can save you some money is also reasonable justification to take action, so saving on your food bill by buying and preparing the food yourself is well worth the effort.

All that having been said, not everyone is going to cook and not all of us will be able to maintain the discipline to avoid eating out or buying a prepared meal once in a while. Keeping this in mind, with only a little effort, it is possible to find low sodium products in the grocery store, so do look for them. Sometimes they taste like the box in which they came, but don't let that deter you. Try other products or write to the makers of the food to them know that they didn't do a good job, but that you are interested in products like these. They want your hard earned cash so they'll pay attention.

Have you switched to a low sodium diet? Are you thriving or surviving? Do you have any tips to share with others on how to get by with less salt?

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I eat far to much salt. It isn't because I eat processed food though as most of what I eat is fresh, but I just add far to much salt to it. Some foods, like potatoes I will actually find myself dipping into salt.

I know that I need to cut back on this as I would like to tackle my HBP through natural means, especially as I tend to forget to tale the tablets. I just have to find the discipline to be firm with myself.
I understand what your saying and your absolutely right we do used too many pre-packaged processed foods with salt used as a preservative these days. I try to be conscious of this, but I am not going to kid myself or you, I haven't cut these types of foods out of my diet completely. I no longer use salt as a condiment which I guess is one good thing, but I also know its not enough. Your right, I should look for more canned vegetables and stuff that say they are low in salt content.
I'm following an anti-inflammatory diet, so I've cut out processed foods. I just add a little salt to the cooking water, and none at table. I prefer to season with freshly ground pepper, herbs and Worcestershire Sauce. Since I've cut down on salt, my BP has come down considerably. The trouble is, you don't realise just how much salt - and sugar for that matter - is in this stuff.
[[P]]That is true that we do need to eat more home cooked meals instead of eating out. Most fast food restaurant menu items are loaded with sodium. In fact you could probably blow your whole daily dietary intake for sodium in just one food item. The secret is to plan your meals well in advance. If you do this and shop at the grocery store accordingly you'll always have several options you can choose from whenever you get home tired and hungry from the office. I always have some pasta noodles and some spices or herbs to make a simple sauce with. Some pasta recipes are so simple it takes only around 15 minutes to make from start to finish. It's even faster if before you leave for the office in the morning you have already done some of the preparation since you know you'll be tired when you get home.
Personally, I've given up takeout/fast food/chinese food due to health reasons. It's so much healthier cooking everything on your own - you KNOW what goes into your food and you can control it.
Back when I was living at my mother's house, we consume way less salt than average. She adds just a pinch of salt on meals, sometimes she doesn't even add salt anymore. And for the first few months, my sister and I were a bit taken aback by the blandness of foods. We ended up putting fish sauce or soy sauce on some meals.

But then after a few months, we got used to the taste of foods. We even thought that some meals were delicious even without the added seasonings. I think it just takes some time before we can get used to the natural taste of foods since we are very much used to flavourful, salty foods.

I'm living with my husband now in their family house and boy, does her aunt add a lot of salt on food.
[[span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:'Verdana',sans-serif;color:#53534D;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"]]Аnаdult shоuld еаt nо mоrе thаn 6g оf sаlt а dаy, but mоst оf us еаt muсh mоrе thаnthis. Mоst оf thе sаlt wе еаt еvеry dаy is "hiddеn". Rоughly 80% оfthе sаlt wе еаt is hiding in prосеssеd fооds likе brеаd, bisсuits аnd brеаkfаstсеrеаls, аnd prеpаrеd rеаdy mеаls оr tаkеаwаys. Оnly 20% соmеs frоm thе sаlt wеаdd whilе сооking оr аt thе tаblе.[[span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:'Verdana',sans-serif;color:#53534D;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"]]
I don't think that one exactly stems from another. It's a matter of taste, also. At least I believe so. Salty stuff is a someone's weakness. Not mine, fortunately.
(2016-05-28 03:47 PM)artyarson Wrote: I don
t think that one exactly stems from another. It
s a matter of taste, also. At least I believe so. Salty stuff is a someone
s weakness. Not mine, fortunately.
I was told by my Doctor not to add any extra salt to my food.I have high blood Pressure.To cut down on the salt it is best to use
low sodium canned Vegges.Don
t eat too much Processed food as those can contain both large amounts of salt and Hydrogenated oils
that send blood pressure rising.I was reading the amount of salt that should be consumed a day is no more than 1,500 mil per day.Now when you think about it you might say no way do I consume this much salt in my diet.I really don
t think your body can process large amounts of salt.Thank goodness for water Pills.

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