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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sodium the Superhero?

Sodium is not the bad guy on the nutrition label. It is merely something used to spruce up the taste of food and works with potassium in the body to regulate the operation of the nervous system. The problem with sodium is that most people eat much more than required which can lead to many health risks.

The average American consumes 3.4 grams of sodium each day. The recommended intake is 2.3 grams per day or one teaspoon of salt. So how can that little salt shaker on the table contribute to such a large number? The answer is not in that little shaker. Sodium is in many foods. Processed foods are essentially high in sodium. Condiments pack a big sodium punch as well. A tablespoon of soy sauce is a hit of 1,000 milligrams of sodium. One tablespoon of ketchup contains 156 milligrams. Surprisingly even canned vegetables, luncheon meats and cheese have high levels of sodium at certain times. When sitting on the shelves vegetables have little sodium, but when they are canned salt is added to increase the shelf life. Processed cheese and cured meats are stuffed with sodium as a way of preserving the life of the food. This means pretty much all fast food and frozen meals have high amounts of sodium.

Again, sodium is essential to the function of the human body, but it is very easy to overindulge. Too much sodium causes the body to retain fluid making the heart work harder than normal. High blood pressure and heart disease can be the outcome. It eventually leads to weight gain from all of the excess fluid. In worst cases all of this can lead to not only heart disease, but strokes and kidney disease.

It is not impossible to eat without a lot of salt. Always taste food before eating it. Many consume dinner after putting a heaping amount of salt on top of it. It does not mean families have to eat organic and make everything from scratch, but eating homemade meals is good for the system. Avoiding processed and packaged foods is the best. Cooking at home will alleviate many of the concerns regarding what is actually in each meal. For those on the go that just do not have time to cook, it is best to study ingredients and read labels before buying the packaged food. There are healthy alternatives to many items on the shelves.

Every new fad and website will tell consumers different things to eat. One will claim this is killing consumers and one will claim that is killing consumers. Eating everything in moderation will help ease the mind of any consumer. Sodium is a good culprit that is only bad once the consumer makes it bad.

Julie Adams is the Marketing Coordinator at Davisson Clinic's Diet by Design Weight Loss Center in Dallas, Texas. A forever West Texan Julie credits her achievements to her degree in Broadcast Journalism at Texas Tech University. She is helping the Davisson Clinic launch its social media platforms. This clinic offers prescription and non prescription weight loss programs all designed specifically for each client. Everyone on the staff is highly educated in both nutrition and weight loss. Julie has always been involved in fitness activities and sporting events. She enjoys sharing what she has learned at the clinic to change the destiny of others. Potential clients are welcome to get a free consultation at the clinic by visiting

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