By: Nikki Nies
Depending on living environment and/or accent, nouns be referred to as different things. For instance, you won’t find the word “pop” on a menu on the East Coast, but in the MidWest, “pop’s” the standard name for soda. Get it? While these regional words are equally accepted and used for sodium bicarbonate, such exchange of words are not always accurate.
Salt and sodium are used interchangeably. However, salt and sodium don’t have the same meaning. Salt is the combination of sodium + chloride, with sodium deemed the unhealthy part of salt. 1 gram of sodium is equal to 2.5 grams of salt. On average, people are consuming 9 grams of salt a day.
It’s important to follow these parameters as too much sodium can lead to hypertension and increase one’s risk for stroke and/or heart disease. The salt shaker on your table isn’t the issue at hand, but 80% of sodium is from the pre packaged,prepared, restaurant processed foods that are packed with sodium rich preservatives.
Recommendation: One should have no more than 2300 mg a day of sodium/6 grams of salt. If you’re of African American descent, 51 years or older, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, you should limit to 1500 mg per day. Yet, high salt intake doesn’t increase one’s risk for heart disease, but sodium does!
To be more mindful of the amount of sodium in foods, choose:
- Food with less than 50 mg sodium per serving is very low in sodium
- Entrees with no more than 480 mg sodium per serving
- Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned
- Look for “no salt added” or “low sodium” products
- Eat in one more night a week. Peruse the American Heart Association‘s website for heart healthy recipes and ideas
- Limit intake of sodium rich foods–soy sauce, pickles, salad dressing, ketchup, cheese, canned meats, frozen meals (i.e. pizza, stir fry, TV dinners), bread, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, salami and sausage
Foods that contain more than 250 mg of sodium per serving are considered high in sodium.
|Salt||Grain Size||Recommended Use||Fun Fact|
|Sea Salt||Small and large||Cooking and seasoning||Comes from evaporated sea water; it’s common for minerals to be left behind in sea salt, which gives it extra flavor and its off white color|
|Table Salt||Very small||For seasoning, baking and in salt shakers||All mineralsare removed from table saltChemicals are added in so so the grains don’t stick together|
|Kosher Salt||Large||Cooking and Seasoning||Salt isn’t actually “kosher”, meaning it doesn’t conform to Jewish food laws, it’s used to make meat kosher|
Now that you can differentiate salt and sodium, you’re already on your way to lowering your risk for blood pressure, heart attack and stroke!
I didn’t know unsalted and sodium free were two different things. Great read!