Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shake it like a salt shaker...

How friendly are you with sodium? 

Do you know where it lives and how much of it lurks in your favorite places?  
It's everywhere.  
I mean everywhere.
The past few weeks of this pregnancy, I have been extremely sensitive to sodium - if I have too much I swell up like a balloon.  So I'm trying to watch it.  Actually I've become a private eye detective, in search of that sneaky sodium fellow.  
So here are some things I've uncovered.

2 oz of deli turkey meat  --  640mg sodium
9 Santitos Tortilla Chips  --  110mg sodium
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes  --   770mg sodium
15.5oz can of Goya Black Beans  --  1610mg sodium
1 cup of low-fat milk  --  102mg sodium
1 T. of soy-sauce  --  1000mg sodium

So what do those numbers mean?  
The average person, as stated by the USDA, should have about 2300mg a day. 
Middle aged and older adults should have no more than 1500mg a day.  
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 2300mg should be the max for any person, and most should aim closer to 1500mg.  

1 tsp of table salt has 2325mg - that's 25mg higher than your max daily intake.

Our bodies only need 180-500mg daily to survive.  

The average American consumes 3436mg daily.   

That's 1136mg more than your max daily intake.

The Mayo clinic says this:

But if for some reason your kidneys can't eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases.
Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced.
Some people's bodies are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. If you're sodium sensitive, you retain sodium more easily, leading to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. If this becomes chronic, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and congestive heart failure.

Of course, foods that are processed, canned, pre-packaged, or served at restaurants contain the highest amounts of sodium.
So what are we to do?  Never eat pizza or chips and queso again?
That's one option of course.  If you cook everything at home you can control the sodium.  But, at least for me anyway, life gets busy and I choose not to do that all the time.
So I say, if you know you're ordering pizza for dinner, really watch the rest of your sodium that day.  And drink lots of water of course to help your kidneys process that salt.

So here are some fun things to do with salt besides eat it ;)

Hope this has been helpful or at least mildly interesting.  Knowledge is power anyway.  I certainly don't claim to do everything perfectly when it comes to eating - but the more I learn, the more it helps me just to be aware of the foods that I'm putting in my body.
Something to keep in mind with all the delicious holiday foods coming our way ;)
Wishing you well,

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