Can Salt/Sodium Rich Foods Make A Difference?

Did you know an average adult eats 4-5 tablespoons of salt each day, while the body only needs one fourth? 

Table salt is chemically known as sodium chloride, of which 40 percent is pure sodium. If you are a weight loss enthusiast and are wondering whether you need to watch your sodium consumption, then the answer is definitely a YES! Though sodium is a natural constituent of certain foods, most of it is added later when processing and preparing food. So, you need to be mindful of salt/sodium rich foods and do a favour to your weight loss efforts. 

Let’s uncover the sodium story to know how it affects our body and nutrition.

The Role of Sodium

Yes, an individual is reported to consume more sodium than their body needs, but that does not mean that you declare sodium as the “bad guy.” For a record, sodium is very much essential for the body and its functioning. You may ask how? Then it would be knowledgeable to know that sodium is a form of electrolyte. This further implies that it goes on with creating the electrically charged ions when dissolved in the blood. 

These very electrolytes aid in regulating nerve impulses along with maintaining a good heart rate level, digestion, optimal blood pressure levels, respiration process, and ongoing brain activity. Also, the fluid balance around the cells gets maintained and that is good for the proper functioning of the nerves and the muscles. 

Where high sodium can play with the fluid levels and lead to high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and bloating; the low sodium can cause low blood pressure and meddle with the proper functioning of the nerves and the muscles. Takeaway; sodium levels should be just spot-on, i.e., neither too high nor too low. 

What Is The Hype Around Sodium And Weight?

One thing straight; SALT DOES NOT HALT THE WEIGHT LOSS, IT MAY PAUSE IT! There is a fourfold fact theory behind how sodium affects weight. And, here it goes.

  • Increases the Need for liquids 

  • If you consume too much salty food, then your thirst is likely to increase. You may go running for water, and end up drinking beverages that are high on calories. Research says that if the amount of sodium consumption reduces, so will be the consumption of sugary drinks. And, that my friend is obviously not good for fitness endeavours! 

  • Sodium Acts As A Taste Enhancer

  • Salt is a condiment that makes the food tastier and relishing. If you are too used to eating sodium-rich food, resisting it becomes a challenge. In simple words, salt augments the taste of food and makes you indulge in binge eating. For you may know, binge eating equates to gaining more weight. 

  • What The Experiment On The Rats Say

  • There is research that is based on experiments on animals. The theory is strange, but a great indicator of how sodium affects your weight. It says that the high sodium diet directly or indirectly influences the fat cells by making them bulgier and big. That makes for a great weight gain story!

  • More The Salt More The Water Retention

  • It is a fact that sodium consumption leads to water retention in the body. Like if you end up consuming 400 milligrams of excess sodium, you are likely to increase your weight by 2 pounds. As the water levels exceed in the body, one might feel bloated and that, in turn, adds up to your overall weight. In the long term though, the water retention may lead to damage of the cardiovascular system and a rise in blood pressure levels. 

    How to Handle the Sodium Intake?

    When you consume sodium-rich food, almost 100 percent of it gets absorbed. That is why; maintaining a moderate concentration of salt is required. Eliminating salt entirely is never a recommended practice! Salt is essential for an individual’s diet plan and has its own magic to spread. So, one needs to maintain a balanced salt/sodium level which should be around 2000 milligrams in a day. The question is; how do you do that?

    A simple trick could be to go for a salt-free dinner instead of a salt-free day. This could help you keep your salt intake limited in one place, and may also help in flushing out the extra fluids.  It is known that the metabolism is at its very low at night, and eating easily digestible food at dinner can help meet up with your goals. 

    Also, if you are quite serious about shedding the extra pounds; indulge in a disciplined life and follow a regular exercise program. The increase in metabolism helps your body eliminate the extra fluids through sweating. That further implies, the extra water retained from the sodium-rich diet would get eliminated. 

    High-Sodium Foods vs. the Low-Sodium Foods

    Here is a comparison chart of sodium-rich foods and low-sodium foods that you should be careful of when on a weight loss journey. 

    Sodium Rich Foods

    Low Sodium Foods

    • Frozen meals
    • Eggs
    • Salted nuts 
    • White beans 
    • Canned beans
    • Milk and yogurt
    • Buttermilk
    • Ricotta cheese
    • Cottage cheese
    • Rice and pasta
    • Salted crackers
    • Fresh potatoes and cherry tomatoes
    • Processed potatoes
    • Fresh fruits
    • Canned vegetables and vegetable juices 
    • Dry fruits
    • Pickles and olives
    • Homemade soups without adding salt
    • Canned soups
    • Unsalted butter
    • Bottled salad dressings
    • Legumes
    • Salted butter
    • Lean Meat

    Tricks to Maintain Sodium Healthy Diet

    • Bid Adieu to Pringles

    You realize that you need to lower the salt intake from your diet, isn’t it?   While you may have already given up on all the junk owing to your fitness efforts, giving up on salty chips could prove to be all the more helpful. If you give a miss to the processed food, you would be soon saying hello to your new and improved weight.

    • Nuts Are Good, Just Not the Salty Ones

    Yes, the nuts are good for any weight loss enthusiast. Whether it is the almonds or the peanuts; these elements contribute positively to your fitness efforts. The only catch here is; the nuts should not be salty! These are prepackaged and may add up to the salt/sodium intake. Eat your nuts raw that have no salt sprinkled on it. 

    • Say No to Sprinklings

    Some people love salt so much that they can’t stop obsessing about it. From sprinkling it on salads to sprinkling it extra on your meals; a salt shaker is always present on the table. This may soothe your taste buds, but the same cannot be said about your body weight. That is why; you need to stop adding salt to almost everything. It may sound challenging and the food may get tasteless, yet this small sacrifice can help you match up with the intended weight number on the scale. 

    • Obsessing Over H20 Is Ever Helpful

    If you are scared that salt consumption is hampering your weight loss efforts, why not indulge in some damage control? You do not have to do anything much, except drinking lots and lots of water throughout the day. The straight fact: drinking water aids in flushing of the excessive sodium from the system, thus speeding up the water retention expulsion. 

  • Sat A Yes To Potassium Rich Food

  • Where sodium acts as a villain, potassium acts as a savour. If you indulge in a potassium-rich diet, it helps negate the wrongdoings of sodium. The combating effect of potassium on sodium helps to get rid of the accumulated water inside the system, as the former tends to eliminate it through urination. In short, you need to move onto a low sodium, high potassium diet. 

    Potassium-rich food alternatives: Yogurt, bananas, spinach, or even broccoli 

  • Skip To Other Taste Enhancers

  • There is no doubt in the fact that salt enhances the taste and holds the capability to add taste to the simplest of dishes. But, owing to the water retention attributes of salt; it would be better to skip onto other taste enhancers that are equally good. Other spices such as oregano, cumin powder, ginger, turmeric, or even the garlic powder hold the power to savour your taste buds greatly. 

  • Do Not Forget To Read The Labels

  • Whenever you go out shopping for food, make sure you read through the labels. Whether it is canned, frozen, or any pre-processed food; you need to be wary before choosing what to put in the basket. You strictly need to choose foods that go well with your weight loss efforts on the one hand and are low in sodium on the other. Low sodium labels read around 140 milligrams of sodium per serving or even less. 

  • Prefer Homemade Over Pre-packaged

  • Homemade food is the best of all as you know what you are eating and can control what to add and what not to. If you do not want the extra sodium to cause water accumulation, prefer preparing your own meals. Add least salt to your food so that it is good enough to be consumed. This simple practice keeps you satisfied and naturally helps you keep up with the low sodium diet. 

  • Are Your Medications High On Sodium?

  • If you are on certain kinds of medications, you need to check through the labels to keep a track of sodium concentration. Any medication that lists “Alka Seltzer,” or “Bromo Seltzer,” should be avoided at every cost. The best thing would be to contact your physician so that they can prescribe you better alternatives that are conversely low in the sodium content.

    • Avert Using Softened Water 

    If you have been using softened water for drinking or even cooking purposes, you would want to ignore it. You might be wondering that softened water is the purest form of water to use, but this kind of water usually contains added salt. You would be indirectly adding sodium to your body, without you even knowing about it. 

    This is how salt/sodium rich foods affect your weight loss efforts. Yes, salt happens to be a primary part of the diet, but having too much of it can never help you scale up your weight loss efforts. The idea is to balance the act as it is the key to manage your diet between the two extremes. 

    Neither too high nor too low is the secret of maintaining a moderate sodium diet! 

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