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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 March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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