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Sodium is an essential electrolyte which is present in body fluid. It is important to maintain the osmotic pressure of the fluids in the body. As it is a well-known fact that “Excess of everything is bad”. Increased sodium levels cause blood pressure to shoot as it leads to higher fluid levels being stored in the body causing extra load on the heart muscles. Higher sodium levels can cause numerous heart problems like stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. Nowadays one out of ten people develop high blood pressure in their lifetime. Here is a list of low sodium foods.
10 Low Sodium Foods for Heart’s Health
1. Fresh Vegetables:
All fresh vegetables are considered low sodium foods, and some contain very low sodium or no sodium at all. Broccoli, spinach, beets and bell peppers all contain less than 140 mg of sodium. Veggies that are very low in sodium include brussels sprout, collard greens, mushrooms, and onion. Asparagus, green bean, garlic cucumber, and squash don’t have sodium in them, but as soon as you add sauce or seasoning to veggies you are increasing sodium content.
2. Fresh Fruits:
Fruits are naturally very low in sodium so as long as they are fresh and not preserved in a jar, can or cup. The most popular fruits with low sodium content include papaya, apples, banana, grapefruits, pears, plums, watermelons, blueberries, strawberries etc.
One cup of yogurt contains about 115 mg of sodium. Yogurt is a probiotic and supports digestion and weight loss. This low sodium food also improves your cardiovascular system and boost your Immune system.
4. Unsalted Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds contain very low sodium. They serve as a great source of protein and fiber. They also contain protective antioxidants and important Nutrients like Vitamin C, Magnesium, calcium and iron. Some of the choices of unsalted nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds. The minerals present in nuts like calcium, magnesium, zinc etc. are needed for bone development, immunity, and energy production.
5. Dried Lentils:
A cup of dried lentils contains about 12 mg of sodium, although they are available in cans but cooking them yourself is your best bet. You can add a dash of salt while cooking if you want. It helps in weight reduction, boosts your energy levels, improves your heart health, and aids your digestion.
6. Goat Cheese:
Goat cheese contains very less sodium, 1 ounce contains only 40 milligrams of sodium. Cheese made from goat milk is comparatively easier to digest because when goat milk enters the stomach it forms a softer curd that causes less irritation when being digested. Researchers say that goat cheese causes less inflammation and allergic reaction than cheese made from cow milk.
7. Coconut Water:
Coconut water is also helpful in maintaining a lower sodium level in the body. Coconut Kefir is also coconut water that is been firmed with Kefir grains. It is packed with probiotics. It also contains Nutrients like Vitamin B12, Calcium, Magnesium, potassium. It boosts your immune system.
Half of a medium avocado contains only 10 mg of sodium. Avocado is a very low sodium food that is packed with healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin B-6, folate etc. Avocados have been found very health for metabolic syndrome weight management and a healthy heart.
Oatmeals should be generally prepared at home, packaged oatmeals available in the market have high sodium contents in them. Apart from sodium, Oats are also a rich source of protein and fiber. Oats can help boost your Immunity, aid digestion and lower cholesterol levels. One of the best ways to have Oats is to have them with fruits, nuts and other flavors in the morning
10. Grass-Fed Beef & Eggs:
If you are a non-vegetarian, then also you can control your sodium even after enjoying your meals. A grass-fed-beef contains 45 mg of sodium, making it a low sodium food. Grass Feed-Beef also has a good quantity of omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation and conjugated linoleic acids which have shown cancer-fighting effects. It can help fight heart diseases and cancer.
One full egg contains 70 mg of sodium. In addition to low sodium levels, other amazing health benefits include lowering of risk of heart disease as they have omega3 fatty acids. They contain naturally occurring carotenoids that help prevent chronic illness. They have high-quality protein. More than half of protein is found in egg white along with vitamin B12. The egg whites are a rich source of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc,
What Happens to the body after high sodium intake –
Kidneys are not able to function properly due to increased sodium levels in the blood. As sodium accumulates, the body holds on the water to dilute the sodium. This increases both, amount of fluid surrounding cell and the volume of blood in the bloodstream. Increase blood volume means more work for the heart and more pressure on the blood vessels. With time the increased load and pressure make the blood vessels stiff and leads to high BP, heart attack and stroke
Tips and tricks to reduce the salt intake:
- Keep yourself self-hydrated and drink two or three lbs of water per day.
- Avoid processed food and opt for fresh vegetables and fruits as much as possible as processed food has a good amount of sodium
- Refer to the labels on the product to make low sodium selections
- For your favorite recipes, replaces salt with other ingredients.
- Use green vegetables in the diet
- Instead of using normal salt available, use other sources like black salt or rock salt
- Although sodium is considered an essential part of daily intake, yet it has its own limitations, healthy adults need to limit their sodium intake to no more than 2300 mg per day i.e. about 1 tablespoon of salts.
- Some people including children and those with high blood pressure, need to keep their sodium intake even lower i.e. not more than 1500 mg per day. The ideal way is to reduce the salt contain slowly. This will help in a body to adjust gradually as well as adjust your taste buds.
- Adding more potassium can help lower your blood pressure. Good Sources of potassium include potatoes, banana, beans, and yogurt.