Being overweight and obese can ruin your life. Diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancers are linked to obesity and excessive weight. Obesity means excess body fat which can lead to health-related problems. Diet plays a vital role in your weight and in this article, we will examine how sodium might be the cause of weight gain.
Sodium is also an important nutrient for the body because it helps to balance water and minerals, relax your muscles, conduct nerve impulses, etc. but if you consume sodium in high quantities then it can lead to stroke, heart diseases, and cancers.
How does sodium lead to weight gain?
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. And sodium has the ability to retain water. So, when you consume more sodium than recommended, chances are your body starts holding water- leading to swelling in your hands and face, making you gain weight, and also in some cases joint pain. But it is important to note that water retention weight usually returns to normal in a few days.
Problems arise when you consume processed foods such as fries, pizzas, frozen dinners, etc. (because processed food contains a high amount of sodium, low in fiber, and high in calories). Consuming it on regular basis, not only makes you fat but also the high amount of sodium also leads to diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Recommended daily dose of sodium
According to American Heart Association (AHA), you should take less than 2,300 mg sodium per day (which equals one tablespoon of salt). However, the daily limit for adults is 1500 mg per day.
However, the average consumption of salt in the United States is 3400 mg per day.
Do you know the reason behind this?
Because most Americans consume packaged, processed foods and some of these foods might contain around 70% sodium in them. That’s why, even without realizing you’re getting more sodium in your diet, which is not good for your health.
How to reduce the consumption of sodium from the diet?
To avoid excess sodium from your diet, follow these steps:
(1.) Starting cooking at home:
The most important step that you should follow is to start cooking homemade meals. Because when you cook the food yourself, you can control the amount of sodium you put in your food.
(2.) Do smart grocery shopping:
- When you go shopping avoid getting processed foods or packaged snacks.
- If you need to buy packaged foods, check the labels to know the amount of sodium it contains, and choose low-sodium or no-sodium products.
- Avoid using/buying condiments (such as ketchup, soy sauce, and mayonnaise) because these products contain more sodium in them instead buy herbs and spices as a substitute.
- If you’re buying meat, buy unseasoned meat instead of deli meat.
- When you buy canned food items such as beans, tuna fish, or vegetables you should rinse off the liquid it comes in as it’s high in sodium.
(3.) Make dietary changes:
- Eat fruits and vegetables that don’t need salt in them.
- Try to use less salt in your cooking, instead use herbs, spices, garlic, and lemon for seasoning.
- Avoid eating high salts foods.
- Get a diet plan from a dietitian or nutritionist that’s low in sodium and calories and high in fiber and nutrition.
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