6 tips to improve your health by using less salt

A’low sodium diet brings many benefits to the body, also preventing the appearance of certain pathologies.

Like, how reduce the salt in our diet and what foods contain little of it, how to choose them so as not to be mistaken?

What is meant by a low sodium diet

The low sodium diet it’s a choice of food more than a diet.

For some people, following a less salty diet is a necessity, sometimes a medical requirement.

When we hear about dieting, we immediately think of losing weight and reducing food in our diet, but that’s not always the case.

The low-salt diet, in fact, is not aimed at losing weight, but at reduction of salt in our way of life.

By lifestyle, we mean the way we and our family cook, choosing foods with a balanced salt content and pairing them with the right dishes.

The World Health Organization in fact, it states that, the good salt intake per person must be less than 5 grams per day (taking into account that already contained in the food and the salt that we add manually to flavor the food).

It’s fair to say that although some people are careful to add salt to their dishes, the products we buy often contain more salt than they should.

In fact, in Italy it is estimated that 64% of the salt we consume comes from purchased products, such as:

  • baked goods
  • cheeses
  • deli

It is therefore certainly essential to make people and manufacturers aware of the importance of salt restriction at home and in the production chain.

The low-sodium diet therefore requires that the added salt intakethus eliminating already salty products (from industrial processing) or homemade additions.

A diet low in sodium: what are the benefits for our body and what diseases can be avoided

Sodium is a mineral that is abundantly used in the daily diet, unlike other elements such as iron, magnesium, potassium, etc.

Excess sodium in the diet is often linked to the appearance ofhypertension.

High blood pressure in fact it is the pathology caused byenlarged arteries resulting enlargement of the left ventricle of the heart.

Using the right amount of salt in your diet means preventing water from accumulating and increasing the volume of blood in the blood vessels.

This phenomenon leads to a increased blood pressure and to the possible damage to the functionality of the heart.

In addition to these phenomena it is possible that the excess with salt consumption negatively affects the eye pressure. This can cause sight-related problems.

The stomach can also benefit from limiting salt because salt can alternate mechanisms that cause gastrointestinal problems, such as:

  • stomach ache
  • acidity
  • gastric reflux

Consuming more salt also tends to gain weight more easily, since you eat saltier foods (fried, smoked, etc.).

However, it is fair to say that sodium chloride also brings benefits to our body (when taking the right dose), such as:

  • a better functioning of the thyroid gland
  • To correct lymphatic system trend
  • in the cell chemical processes
  • functioning of nerves
  • in the’fluid balance (it’s a great drainer)

A low sodium diet it is suitable for people with kidney failure, as excess salt slows down filtering functionality of the kidneys.

6 useful tips for reducing salt on a daily basis

The salt recommended in a correct diet is iodized salt, it is table salt enriched with iodine. Iodine is obtained from sea water and is important for metabolism.

Among the precautions to take when following alow sodium diet there is surely a way to shop, therefore the choice of products to buy and to change certain “home” habits, in particular:

  • carefully read the nutritional values ​​of the products (which contain less than 0.3 grams per 100 grams of product)
  • limit the use of bouillon cubes, sauces and seasonings with sodium
  • do not put salt on the table, so as not to be tempted to add it to food
  • buy less salty products (chips, salty snacks)
  • rinse canned foods (e.g. legumes) several times to remove excess salt used as a preservative
  • do not accustom children (at least until their first year) to added salt in their meals.

The right foods and habits to follow for our well-being

It is preferable that between cooking methods to use in cooking, choose the simplest ones (do not fry and sauté).

Buy fresh products, preferring for example fresh and unsalted dairy products.

Utilize replace seasoningsfor example, adding spices to dishes, which will give a unique flavor and you will not feel the “lack of salt”.

choose to do salt-free picklesif for example the lunch is based on grilled meats, it is better to add a mixture of oils, ground pepper, fresh spices, garlic etc.

Meat like fish will have a unique flavor and will contain the salt already present, without having to add it to flavor the dish.

In order not to buy salty bread products, you can choose cereal products, with barley, wheat and oats, these indeed contain many fibers, salt is a necessary element for the preparation of bread and therefore it will already be contained.

Dr. Marzia Vignoni nutritionist in Brescia and Mantua

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