Celebrity Nutritionist Nmami Explains Benefits Of Eating Salt-Free And How To Do So

Salt contains a high amount of sodium, which in high doses can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Here's how you can live a salt-free life.

India has a long-standing history with salt. It is seen as a symbol of freedom in this land of spices. An ingredient with so much historical value can't be all that bad right? Well, if you think so, you would be wrong. Salt contains a high amount of sodium, which in high doses can lead to an increase in blood pressure. This, in the long run, can lead to various heart problems. It is, therefore, important to know the difference between how much sodium you should be consuming and how much sodium you're actually consuming.

Why you need to consume less salt

According to the World Health Organisation, adults should consume a maximum of just 2gms of sodium a day (the amount present in less than 1 teaspoon of salt!).

We Indians consume more than double that amount in a day. This could lead to cardiovascular problems in the future and your immunity could be compromised. It could also cause physical manifestations like puffy eyes and bloating.

Salt, in excess, is addictive. Once you start consuming salt, your taste buds get accumulated and make you crave more salt to add flavour.

The good news is that once you start lowering your salt intake, your taste buds will get acclimated and your food will start tasting just as good, if not better.

How you can make that happen

The first thing that must be done is to stop adding salt to your dishes. Most food contains natural salt, adding more would just add an excess of sodium to your meals. Most people are unaware that majority of excess salt intake is due to processed meats and canned food. The key here is to cut down on processed food and move on to natural whole foods that include fresh store bought fruits, vegetables, and meat and reduce the intake of foods like sausages, salamis, ham, canned pickles, breakfast cereals and instant noodles. Having home cooked meals and replacing salt with lemon juice, coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, parsley, cumin, ginger, tarragon, garlic or onion powder, oregano or dry mustard will add flavours to your meal without the addition of unnecessary sodium.

Processed and Instant Foods

We live in a fast-paced world, where people want to fast forward everything, including their meals. Because of this, a lot of attention is not being paid to what is being eaten and people end up hoarding themselves with foods like pre-packed instant noodles or cup noodles which albeit easy to eat have long-term ill-effects on our health. These foods must be replaced with, if not home cooked meals, then healthier options like multi-grain sandwiches, lentil soups, and fresh salads. Fruits can also be consumed on the go and are easy to travel with. Refined flour should be avoided and whole-wheat bread and rotis should be adopted. For breakfast, make sure to avoid breakfast cereals and processed meats. Instead, have toasted whole-wheat bread and fresh fruits with yogurt or eggs. You can even have whole-wheat parathas with unsalted butter, poha or vermicelli.

Condiments

Grabbing a sandwich from food chains that claim to be healthy may also result in high consumption of sodium but not for the reason you think. Condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, and the ubiquitous tomato ketchup are silent forms of sodium-filled killers. Condiments contain large amounts of added salt to extend their shelf life and enhance their flavour. Replacing them with homemade salsas, tamarind chutneys or hummus is the best option.

Source - NDTV 

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