Sunday, July 1, 2007

Taste Contributors: Salt - King of Diseases

- Sodium is one of the required minerals and salt has it

- We need 200-300mg of sodium per day. But we consume much, much, much more than that amount

- 1 tsp of salt contains about 2000mg of sodium, the upper limit per day per USDA, which most people far exceed

- All foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds etc contain sodium. So we can get enough sodium from our food. In addition, they contain sufficient amounts of potassium, which is lost during cooking

- Cells work hard and spend 50% of our energy in compensating for the low potassium and high sodium

- High sodium result in Water retention

- The excess sodium will be stored wherever there is some "empty" space. It will be stored between joints. This will result in the hardening of the cartilege resulting in joint pains, arthritis

- The excess sodium takes away water from the cells and hence they become dehydrated and weaken

- Excess sodium makes the cells and vessels harden

- Increased blood pressure due to this retained water and hardened vessels

- Heart trouble due to the hardening of valves and vessels

- Paralysis due to high blood pressure

- Kidney problems as the kidneys cannot purge the excess sodium

- Bad odors as the body is retaining water and urinating and sweating is reduced

- Chronic diseases as the cells weaken such as skin allergies, cancers

- Diabetes as the cells ability to absorb sugar reduces as they become hardened

- Asthma, allergy and sinus complications as the dehydration leads to the production of histamine and hence mucus in lungs

How to reduce salt consumption:
- Dr. Raju says this excess salt is the most harmful ingredient in our food

- We can reduce the salt required in our foods by using sourness. The sourness in the food will cause saliva to be produced and hence make it possible to savor the food. Squeeze lemon juice while eating food or mix aam choor powder to your dishes.

- We can also use a few extra peppers to make our food more pleasing to the tongue.

- Learn to eat your fresh vegetables without adding additional salt.

- Learn to eat your yogurt without adding additional salt (and sugar).

Fear of consuming too little Sodium: Just one cup of vegetable juice made with carrots and spinach will provide 200mg of sodium. So, as long as you eat healthy, you will be consuming more than enough amount of sodium. As a guideline, aim to not consume more than a quarter tsp of "salt" per day.

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