Most of us are consuming way too much sodium on a daily basis, and we have no clue! I remember before I started P90X, my diet was very poor; it consisted of tons of processed (high sodium) foods. I remember sweating a lot because I was retaining so much water, which also made me feel bloated and disgusting.
When your diet consists of high sodium, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine, but your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium so it starts to accumulate in your blood. This makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. It can lead to diseases such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease.
Where do high sodium foods come from?
Processed and prepared foods - These foods are typically high in salt, which is a combination of sodium and chloride, and in additives that contain sodium. While these ingredients have many practical uses like preservation and enhanced taste they can greatly increase your sodium intake. It’s not worth it!
Many condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc) contain sodium, not high amounts but they add up when you start using a lot of them. One condiment I’d avoid altogether is soy sauce; one tablespoon has about 1,000 mg of sodium; that’s insane!
Here is a tip, READ THE NUTRITION LABEL. Look for packages that say “sodium-free or salt-free, low sodium, no salt added, reduced sodium”
Some of the things I did to reduce my sodium intake drastically was eating more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. I used herbs and spices to flavor my food. I limited the use of condiments “ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, dips, dressings”. You’ll never see me reach for the salt shaker! I also increased my potassium intake, this helped because potassium aids with the flushing out of excess sodium in urine. Also, drink a lot of water! Keep drinking water throughout the whole day. Take water bottles with you wherever you go and sip on it. It sounds counterproductive but drinking lots of water helps prevent water retention.
While you are on your fitness journey, keep in mind that sodium is a hidden enemy. The next time you reach for that salt shaker, think about this post!