Sodium and Heart Health
Sodium is one of the major nutrients which contribute to the problem of heart disease. As most of us know, sodium deficiency is a condition that can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
Excessive consumption of sodium has also been associated with the development of high blood pressure and heart disease. It has been found that the incidence of the latter is three times higher in men than in women. Now, all of us must ask the question, “Should I increase my sodium intake or lower it down?”
Too much salt intake is not a very good idea, since it will only lead to hypertension. The combination of sodium and sugar causes the increase in blood pressure. Consequently, hypertension is considered as one of the many forms of cardiovascular diseases.
You need to maintain the right balance of sodium in your diet if you want to maintain good health. The most important thing to remember is that too much intake of salt may cause weight gain and other serious health conditions. One of the biggest contributors to obesity is excess salt intake.
Heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, kidney failure, and heart failure are some of the more serious complications of sodium intake. Therefore, it is very important to prevent these health problems. The most effective method to do so is to reduce salt intake gradually over a period of time, or follow a heart healthy diet plan.
Nowadays, almost every food preparation industry includes sodium reduction in their recipes. They usually use neutral salts, or sodium chloride, which is used as an ingredient for different types of preserves and sauces. This fact, however, does not mean that the sodium content of foods is lessened. Since some ingredients such as margarine and shortening contain more sodium than other types of fat.
In fact, the quantity of sodium consumed affects the overall health of the person. Many studies have shown that a low sodium diet, especially one that consists of adequate amounts of other nutrients, can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, the large quantities of calcium and potassium that are usually found in the food that is low in sodium can help to strengthen the bones.
The Health Effects of Sodium and Heart Health should not be confused with salt substitutes such as the ones available on the market in stores or in health food stores; salt shakers, frozen foods, canned foods, etc. All of these substitutes are still considered to be more harmful than beneficial.
However, there are foods that can contribute to healthy heart health. Consuming lots of antioxidants and low-fat foods can decrease the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. This is because antioxidants have been proven to reduce blood pressure and the development of coronary artery disease.
Of course, there are certain steps that you can take to keep your salt intake low, and at the same time minimize the risk of your developing cardiovascular diseases. For instance, you can try to reduce your intake of salt by using salt shakers. If you are not able to buy them, you can purchase low-salt substitutes from health food stores.
Sodium is normally present in many foods, but the amount of salt that you need to consume daily depends on your weight and gender. When you consume less sodium, you will also lose some weight and become healthier. You can lower your sodium intake through a number of different ways:
Choosing unsalted fish and lean meat as your main source of protein is one way to decrease your salt intake. Include foods such as low-fat yogurt, beans, lean beef, chicken, egg whites, and vegetable and fruit juices. If you do not like eating the usual bread and pasta, then you can add low-fat crackers, carrot sticks, or raisins to your diet.