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Stop Eating So Much Salt! These Are The Low Sodium Foods That You Should Eat!

Stop Eating So Much Salt! These Are The Low Sodium Foods That You Should Eat!

Despite the growing number of warnings by the health experts, our diet is still abundant with processed foods that contain excessive amounts of salt that is detrimental to our health. What too much sodium does to our health is that it increases the volume of blood in our blood stream, which results in high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones and headaches[1], not to mention the weight gain and bloating as a result of water retention. With high blood pressure being a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, it has become evident that lower sodium intake is one of the most important prevention measures.

High sodium foods we use in our diet include

  • Smoked, cured, salted or canned meat, fish or poultry including bacon, cold cuts, ham, frankfurters, sausage, sardines, caviar and anchovies
  • Frozen breaded meats and dinners, such as burritos and pizza
  • Canned entrees, such as ravioli, spam and chili
  • Salted nuts
  • Beans canned with salt added
  • Buttermilk
  • Regular and processed cheese, cheese spreads and sauces
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bread and rolls with salted tops
  • Quick breads, self-rising flour, biscuit, pancake and waffle mixes
  • Pizza, croutons and salted crackers
  • Prepackaged, processed mixes for potatoes, rice, pasta and stuffing
  • Regular canned vegetables and vegetable juices
  • Olives, pickles, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables
  • Vegetables made with ham, bacon or salted pork
  • Packaged mixes, such as scalloped or au gratin potatoes, frozen hash browns and Tater Tots
  • Commercially prepared pasta and tomato sauces and salsa
  • Regular canned and dehydrated soup, broth and bouillon
  • Cup of noodles and seasoned ramen mixes
  • Soy sauce, seasoning salt, other sauces and marinades
  • Bottled salad dressings, regular salad dressing with bacon bits
  • Salted butter or margarine
  • Instant pudding and cake
  • Large portions of ketchup, mustard

According to American Heart Association [2] “With 65% of sodium in their diet coming from supermarkets and 25% from restaurants 9 out of 10 Americans consume too much sodium, exceeding the dosage recommended by AHA by 1900mg.”

Health benefits of a low sodium diet

Low sodium diet is strongly recommended as it not only improves the overall health and appearance, but it also affects three major risk factors – high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease.

A research [3] comprised of 14 cohort studies and five randomized controlled trials reporting all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke, or coronary heart disease, 37 randomized controlled trials measuring blood pressure, renal function, blood lipids, and catecholamine levels in adults and nine controlled trials and one cohort study in children reporting on blood pressure shows three major health benefits of low sodium diet

  • In adults a reduction in sodium intake significantly reduced resting systolic blood pressure by 3.39 mm Hg and and resting diastolic blood pressure by 1.54 mm Hg
  • In children, a reduction in sodium intake significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 0.84 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 0.87 mm Hg
  • Lower sodium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults

Suggested list of low sodium foods

Even though pervasive in our diets, high sodium foods are not that difficult to avoid or to replace by healthier alternatives. Here is a list of healthy, low sodium alternatives to the previous list, suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [4] and AHA Sodium blog, [5] complete with recipes for you to try at home.

Meat, fish, eggs, beans and peas

  • Fresh meat (beef, veal, lamb, pork), poultry, fish or shellfish – low in sodium, rich in protein and iron
  • Eggs – low in sodium, rich in protein and omega -3 fatty acids
  • Dried or frozen beans and peas – low in sodium, rich in protein and iron

Suggested daily intake: 2-3 servings per day

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Recipe suggestions:

Scallop ceviche

    Low calorie and low sodium delicious lunch choice.

    White bean and roasted garlic dip

      Healthy home-made dip low in sodium and rich in fiber and protein.

      Dairy

      • Low-sodium cheese (swiss, goat, brick, ricotta, fresh mozzarella)
      • Cream cheese (light and skim)
      • Milk (1% or skim)

      Suggested daily intake: 2-3 servings per day

      Recipe suggestion:

      Phyllo Shells, Goat Cheese, and Jam

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        Creamy, crunchy, low calorie and low sodium snack

        Fruits and vegetables

        • Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits
        • Fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauces
        • Low-sodium tomato juice or V-8 juice
        • Low-sodium tomato sauce

        Suggested daily intake: 5 or more servings per day

        Recipe suggestions:

        Double Apple Crumble

           Rich, low sodium dessert.

          Banana Nut Oatmeal

            Zero-sodium, healthy breakfast choice.

            Beet, Orange, and Ricotta Salad

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              Tasty and healthy salad super rich in protein and fiber.

              Tomato Stacks

                Low calorie, low sodium, savory snack.

                 Breads, grains

                • Low-sodium breads
                • Low-sodium cereals (old-fashioned oats, quick cook oatmeal, grits, Cream of Wheat or Rice, shredded wheat)
                • Pasta (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni)
                • Rice
                • Low-sodium crackers
                • Low-sodium bread crumbs
                • Granola
                • Corn tortillas
                • Plain taco shells

                Suggested daily intake: 6 or more servings per day

                Recipe suggestions:

                Easy Granol

                  Healthy breakfast choice with only 22mg of sodium, and 3 grams of protein and fiber.

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                  Pappardelle With Lemon Gremolata and Asparagus

                    Great dinner choice rich in vitamin K, protein and fiber.

                    Sweets (consume in moderation)

                    • Sherbet, sorbet, Italian ice, popsicles
                    • Fig bars, gingersnaps
                    • Jelly beans and hard candy

                    Recipe suggestion

                    Triple Chocolate Surprise Brownies

                      Low calorie, rich and fudgy dessert.

                      Fats, oils, condiments (consume in moderation)

                      • Low-sodium butter and margarine
                      • Vegetable oils
                      • Low-sodium salad dressing
                      • Homemade gravy without salt
                      • Low-sodium soups
                      • Low-sodium broth or bouillon
                      • Lemon juice
                      • Vinegar
                      • Herbs and spices without salt
                      • Low-sodium mustard
                      • Low-sodium catsup
                      • Low-sodium sauce mixes

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                      Reference

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                      Ana Erkic

                      Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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                      1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

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                      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                      Why you can’t sleep through the night

                      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                      Stress

                      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                      Eating close to bedtime

                      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                      Medical conditions

                      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                      The vicious sleep cycle

                      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                      You get a bad night’s sleep
                      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                        Here are a few suggestions:

                        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                        Sleep better form now on

                        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                        Reference

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