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Surprising High-Sodium Foods You Need To Avoid For Kidney Health

Surprising High-Sodium Foods You Need To Avoid For Kidney Health

Our kidneys are delicate yet vital organs. By removing unwanted fluid in our bloodstreams, they perform some very important functions in our bodies. Not only do they keep our bloodstream healthy, they also regulate blood pressure by keeping an appropriate salt and water balance. A high-salt diet can alter this precise regulatory function within our bodies leading to higher blood pressure, and the many diseases linked to this, as well kidney failure and other kidney related diseases.

Several research papers have cited salt as a silent killer precisely because many supermarket foods contain surprisingly high amounts of sodium. In the UK, 3 per cent of the National Health Service’s entire budget is spent solely on treating kidney disease. So what foods do we have to be careful with if we want to reduce our daily sodium intake? Here are a few to watch out for.

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1. Cereal

Cereals are healthy, right? That’s how many big cereal brands promote themselves in our supermarkets today, but even some of the so-called “healthy” options contain alarming amounts of salt. Many cereals have up to 12 per cent of the daily recommended intake in only one serving. That’s 180 to 300mg of sodium per serving. A better option is plain oatmeal topped with a serving of fresh fruit, which will help you towards a much healthier daily intake.

2. Bread

Another staple breakfast food that is often promoted as part of a healthy balanced diet, but some supermarket brands of bread can contain very high amounts of sodium. A study carried out in 2011 showed that brown bread, the supposedly healthier variety, which is a good source of fibre, made up four of the five saltiest loaves in a sample of 300 popular brands in the UK. The figures, put together by the Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) campaign group, suggest that a child aged four to six could exceed their recommended daily intake just by eating a sandwich made using one of the popular brands.

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    3. Cottage Cheese

    Cottage cheese can be a nutrient-filled addition to any breakfast or snack. It packs in a good amount of calcium, is relatively low in fat and is a surprisingly good source of protein. However, some varieties can also have surprising amounts of sodium in them. One serving can contain almost 1000mg of sodium which is about 40 per cent of your recommended daily intake. Greek yoghurt, which contains a small fraction of the sodium, is a great protein-rich substitute.

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    homemade-cottage-cheese-recipe

      4. Hot Chocolate

      Much like cereal, we wouldn’t bat an eyelid seeing it on a high-sugar foods list, but it’s surprising to see how much salt some of the well-known supermarket brands of hot chocolate contain. One serving can contain 7 per cent of your recommended intake. That’s a lot of salt for a drink! Bearing in mind a regular serving can contain about 20g of sugar too, it may be delicious but it ain’t healthy.

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      5. Seafood

      Seafood can be a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be a great aid to healthy heart function. Fresh salmon, for example, can help to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It’s always very important to know how your seafood is prepared though. Canned tuna can contain up to 300mg of sodium in a small serving, whilst four large shrimp can contain 200mg. Always read the tin carefully, which leads us to our final point..

      6. “Reduced-Sodium” Foods

      It’s so easy to be led astray these days by supermarket labelling into thinking we’re going for a much healthier option when really we are not. When it comes to sodium content in foods, it’s important to distinguish between two types of labels. These are “reduced sodium” and “low sodium”. According to FDA regulations, “low sodium” label foods must contain 140mg of sodium or less, whilst “reduced sodium foods” contain 25 per cent less than the original product. A canned soup that could contain up to 1000mg of sodium therefore, would still contain a very high 750mg, about 30 per cent of your daily value.

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      Christopher Young

      Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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