Sodium is in everything, from the obvious tortilla chips to the not-so-obvious candy. It’s in cake, cheese, bread, nuts, chips, sodas, juices, and many condiments. It’s no wonder people have to watch their sodium intake and are suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease.
According to UCSF Medical Center, “The average American eats five or more teaspoons of salt each day. This is about 20 times as much as the body needs. In fact, your body needs only 1/4 teaspoon of salt every day.” Three teaspoons is equivalent to 1 tablespoon. So 5 teaspoons is almost 2 tbs. Can you imagine that laid out on your counter? Can you imagine trying to eat that all at one time? Yuk! I know a few people who love salt, but none would want to eat that.
While it is important to have sodium, as it plays a large role in blood pressure, and how much blood we have, too much sodium can even be fatal. Sodium can then cause high blood pressure. Remember the last time you had Chinese food and then swelled up for 3 days? Yeah, too much sodium. Sodium makes our bodies think we are starting to get dehydrated so our bodies hold on to what water we do have as a reservation, making our legs or feet swell. UCFS Medical Center recommends eating less than 2,000 milligrams a day. That’s 1 teaspoon, not 5! (I know people that put more than that on one egg!) A teaspoon is about the size of your fingertip. ..only one finger tip!
When cutting down on sodium, the best way is to make your own foods. Use other spices or herbs and get creative. Try new things. Try using more vegetables, fruits, noodles, and rice (without added salt). When at the store, pay attention to the labels on foods. Look for “low sodium” labeled products. Try low sodium soups, breads, and cheeses. Yes, they are out there. You just have to start looking.
Here are three healthy, low-sodium, easy recipes for you to try!
Rice and Vegetables
whole grain or white rice 3-4 servings
carrots 1-2 large carrots
broccoli 1-2 heads
cauliflower 1-2 heads
peas- ½ cup peas
corn – ½ cup corn
mushrooms- ½ cup
Please select your favorite vegetables and adjust amounts to your liking. Remember this is for you and you should LOVE IT!
Cook 3-4 servings of rice. Chop all of your favorite vegetables finely. Put all of the chopped vegetables into a pan. Use Pam, so they don’t stick. Spray over the vegetables instead of using butter or oil, (as you can get Pam with no calories or fat). Cook vegetables until they are tender. If you want fried rice throw the rice in at the very end and cook for a few min. Add your favorite seasoning – NOT SALT! Try cayenne pepper, fresh garlic, or ginger. Stir and enjoy!
Berry Delicious Juice
½ red delicious apple
1 long carrot
5-6 ice cubes
Makes about 3 cups
Wash all the ingredients thoroughly. Chop the carrot into 1/4ths or so. Peal the oranges and lemon. Put the ingredients into your blender, I use VitaMix. Put 5-6 ice cubes into the blender. If it looks like it may need water start by adding a small amount. The water amount varies depending on the fruit, so adjust accordingly. Sometimes it will not blend thoroughly if there isn’t enough water. Blend until thoroughly mixed. If you want a little spark ad some carbonated water, at the very end and stir with spoon. If you add the carbonated water don’t add too much regular water to the mix.
your favorite seasoning
Take 2-3 zucchinis and chop in very thin (chip like) pieces. Place on a non stick baking sheet or spray with Pam. Place the zucchini on a towel and spread out. Use another towel to absorb some of its moisture. Then place and spread out on the pan and spray with Pam (or use foil or parchment paper). Then sprinkle your favorite seasoning on. Remember that the zucchini will shrivel up and the flavor will be stronger. Try some seasonings like cayenne pepper, garlic, lemon, lemon pepper, oregano, etc (NOT SALT). Once the flavor is on flip over and do the other side. Bake at about 225 for about 2-hours or until brown and crisp. These are a great alternative to chips!