Sodium: That tricky little “S” word. 😉 It’s the only seasoning I know that we can sprinkle over our shoulders for good luck and on our food for that little extra oomph to spice things up. Here are a couple of quick salty little facts:
- Most Americans typically take in 3400 mg of sodium each and every day.
- BUT, did you know that the American Heart Association recommends we stick BELOW 2300 mg daily? That’s one teaspoon of salt!
- Further, if you’re an older adult or have high blood pressure or other heart disease, you should be limiting your intake to somewhere between 1000-1500 mg daily.
How Does Sodium Impact Transformation?
Not only can excess sodium have negative effects on our heart and health, salt can also be the culprit when it comes to weight loss plateaus or funky patterns showing up on our scale every morning. Putting on my scientific lab coat here…but we are all made up of water, right? Or all least partly. Human adult bodies are made up of around 60% water.
When we consume a lot of sodium, the salt actually binds to or sticks to the water in our bodies, causing water retention, or the terrible B word: Bloating. Which means you could step on the scale the morning after a binge or night of snacking and notice that it’s gone up five pounds.
Remember: One pound is equal to 3500 calories. So did you really eat 17,500 calories the day before? Doubtful. Did you eat a lot of processed food with high sodium content? Probably. But it’s easy to do, and it happens to ALL of us. I think we’re all naturally drawn to salt.
This can be such a frustrating thing, especially when we’ve been working so hard on our transformations—eating right and exercising and shaking it like a salt shaker—that when we see those numbers on the scale suddenly spike, we instantly think we’re doing something wrong, and then we develop that “Why am I even doing this?” mentality. And we give up. When all we needed to do was tweak one little thing: our salt intake.
What Else Can Sodium Do To Your Body?
Eating too much salt can also cause some pretty serious side effects, even more dangerous than a disgruntled dieter who steps on the scale. 😉 Consuming too much sodium can do a couple of things and contribute to several health problems:
- high blood pressure
- heart diseases like congestive heart failure and stroke
- kidney problems
- it can even affect our brains in the form of cognitive impairment or dementia.
On the other hand, our bodies NEED some salt, so we don’t want to cut it all out completely, either! Try sticking within those recommended ranges so that your body can be the healthiest version of you yet.
How Do You Reduce Sodium Intake?
Adding extra salt to our diet is so easy, right? Especially when a lot of common foods that we’re already eating come with a higher sodium content. Things like processed meats, chips, canned goods, crackers, cheeses, soups, and even some of our medications come packed with sodium! And, of course, don’t forget our good ole’ friend, Mr. Table Salt. So, when we’re constantly faced with salt, salt, and more salt, how on earth do we even begin to decrease our intake?
The first thing to do is find some good alternatives. Just because you’re limiting your salt intake doesn’t mean that your foods have to be boring and bland. Try experimenting with other seasonings and spices. One of my favorites is Mrs. Dash. This line of seasonings has tons of great options to choose from and they’re all salt-free, which means you don’t have to scrimp on flavor just because you’re scrimpin’ on the salt.
Don’t stop cold turkey, either!
Salt is a big staple in most of our lives, and I get that! Try weaning yourself off slowly. Limit the amount of table salt you add to your cooking or meals each day, and then as your body adjusts and you get used to those changes, start paying attention to the ingredients and sodium content of the foods you’re buying. Here are a couple of additional tips:
- Opt for fresh fruits and veggies as opposed to canned goods
- Grab fresh foods for snacks as opposed to chips, crackers, processed foods, etc.
- If you do buy things like nuts, seeds, or crackers, look for the unsalted or lower sodium options (yes, they exist!)
- Try out some other spices like Oregan and Thyme (depending on what you’re cooking)
And when you do decide to enjoy those salty foods, like french fries, I want you to enjoy America’s favorite snack! 😉 But don’t get too salty—switch up your favorite french fry recipe with some different seasonings instead of table salt.
Drop your favorite seasonings and spices below, and let’s stock up our pantries this week with some healthier alternatives!