Love salt? Well who doesn’t, after all it is an important ingredient of our diet, any food without salt seems pale, boring and tasteless. If weight loss, glowing skin and healthy regime are your choices then think again about your salt intake. Salt is everywhere- dumped in canned food; loaded in the bag of chips; spooned in cereals; stuffed in salad dressing.
Is salt really bad??
Besides adding flavour to our food, salt actually plays important roles in the body. It is the most common source of sodium and chloride ions, which cannot be made by the body itself and so need to be consumed through our food intake. In particular, it regulates volumes of fluid in the body. It also aids the uptake of various other nutrients into cells.
So, how much salt do we actually need??
According to the doctors, dietitians and researchers in the UK, Europe and USA, an adult needs 6 grams of salt per day. 6 grams means 1 teaspoon of salt. As per the Food Standards Agency (UK) the human Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of salt should be: Age 7-10 years-5grams per day; Age 4-6 years-3grams per day and Age 1-3 years-2grams per day. That means, with you, your kids are having more salt then they need.
Why excess salt is bad??
Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, thyroid and kidney diseases. In addition to it, salt intake will make your skin dry and age faster-who wants that?? The last thing you want is puffy under eye bags and bloated face.
So, here are 5 easy ways to reduce/avoid salt intake?
Have you ever read the label of tomato ketchup bottle- a 200 grams bottle contains 47% of salt? Shocked??? That’s why dump those dips and chutneys that you get in the market- make healthy alternatives-coriander mint chutney, hummus, apple cider vinegar dressing. Ditch those salty pickles , instead make your own chilli or mango pickle. Researchers in the UK have proved that one slice of bread, contains equal amount of salt that is in a bag of crisps- Upsetting??? Well, cooking at home from scratch not only is hygienic but you have the control while adding salt.
I understand no Indian meal is complete without our rotis. As per the survey 82% of the Indian ladies add salt in their dough, but do you really need salt in it?? Think again, you are going to pair the rotis with any side subji, pickle or chutney- which already has salt. Even when having stuffed parathas, the stuffing already contains salt, why add more to the dough-right?? That’s the easiest and healthiest way to avoid salt.
Again, why are you ruining your healthy colourful salad by adding salt? Vegetables have their own taste-like carrots are sweet, cucumber is juicy, onions are sharp, chillies are spicy and tomatoes are tangy-why add salt and mess up with their individual taste. If you are still not keen on having raw salad, how about a pinch of black pepper, or spoon of yogurt? But avoid those salt loaded salad dressing, mayonnaise or mustard-that’s a big no no.
If not rotis then rice is our beloved-well mine too. But never ever add salt while cooking rice. Again, you will have rice with already salty things like daal, pickle, riata or curry –which will finally balance the taste. The same applies to your dosa/idli batter also. Ofcourse there is no chance that you wont accompany dosa with chutney or sambhar. So think again!
How about plain nuts instead of those over salted nuts? How about a bag of plain crackers in place of salted chips? How about fresh noodles instead of instant one? How about fresh fruits and vegetables in place of canned ones? Always read the labels, before you pick anything from the supermarkets-there are many alternatives that are low in sodium-choose smartly.
Some other points:
- Always add salt in the last. When you add salt, it releases water, finally water evaporates and you are forced to add more salt.
- Put a note in the kitchen which says-less salt. This will remind and motivate you to decrease salt intake.
- Each salt have different minerals and iodine content so alternate the use of salts. Example use regular salt one month, next time use sea salt or rock salt.
I understand that these tips are not easy to follow, but what can be more important than the health? A year back, I noticed puffiness on my skin and under eyes;-I stopped adding salt to dough, rice, salad and even while boiling pasta. Now, we don’t even notice that our rice and rotis are without salt- we are so used to the taste.
Give these tips a shot and I am sure you will find positive changes. Better safe than sorry :-) Take care of your body, thats the only place you have to live in. Well too much of gyan from me. Let me know how you find my article.