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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

                      [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110538
                      [2] SOURCE:American Heart Association
                      [3] SOURCE:Effect of lower sodium intake on health: systematic review and meta-analyses
                      [4] SOURCE: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020
                      [5] SOURCE: AHA Sodium blog/

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                      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                      1. Understand Yourself Better

                      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                      3. Become Aware of What Matters

                      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                      4. Boost Creativity

                      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                      6. Process Life Experiences

                      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                      7. Stress Relief

                      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                      8. Provide Direction

                      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                      9. Solve Problems

                      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                      10. Find Relief From Fighting

                      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                      11. Find Meaning in Life

                      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                      14. Let the Past Go

                      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                      15. Allow Freedom

                      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                      16. Enhance Your Career

                      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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