BY MARK KIRKPATRICK
Doctors and other medical experts have been warning us for decades about the dangers of consuming too much salt in our diet. Although sodium is necessary for our bodies to function properly, higher than normal levels of this important element have been linked to a number of dangerous health conditions including:
- Hypertension (or high blood pressure), which can lead to heart failure
- Poor bone development, which can cause osteoporosis
- Fluid in the lungs, which can cause shortness of breath
- Kidney stones, which can cause renal failure
- Dehydration causing excessive thirst and water retention
- Gastric ulcers, cancer, and hormonal imbalances
Studies suggest that people who consume too much salt are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer and are at a much higher risk of contracting stomach ulcers, acid reflux, and other digestive problems including persistent heartburn, bloating, nausea with vomiting, severe stomach pain, and weight loss.
More than expected
Although experts recommend healthy adults consume only 2,300 mg of sodium (or about a teaspoon of salt) per day, research shows that 97% of people take in more than double this amount daily. For those at risk of developing, or who are already experiencing, high blood pressure, the amount of sodium recommended drops to only 1,500 mg daily.
Even if you are not using the saltshaker, you're probably consuming much more sodium than you know. Here are five seemingly healthy foods that are among the worst offenders:
1. COTTAGE CHEESE:
Many turn to this dairy product as a healthy weight loss solution, but the problem is all of that added salt. (Sodium content: 819 mg per cup)
2. CANNED BEANS:
Beans are a good source of protein, but most canned varieties come packaged with extra sodium. (Sodium content: 800 mg per cup)
3. CANNED TOMATOES:
This otherwise healthy vegetable is generally canned not only with added salt, but many manufacturers also add high fructose corn syrup or sugar, especially to sauces. (Sodium content: 1,350 mg per cup)
4. VEGETABLE JUICE:
What could be healthier than drinking vegetable juice? Many canned and bottled varieties are packed with extra salt and added sugar used for flavoring. To cut back out the salt, juice your own veggies. (Sodium content: 481 mg per serving)
Beef, chicken, and vegetable broths are usually low in fat and calories, and they add great flavor to many foods. Unfortunately, they are typically loaded with added sodium. (Sodium content: 773 mg per 1 cup vegetable beef)
What you can do
Fresh produce is always more healthful than processed foods. Whenever possible, use fresh or dry veggies in your cooking, and make your own juices, broth, and sauerkraut. If you do buy canned foods, read labels to check for actual sodium content. Look for no-salt-added or low-sodium alternatives. Use ground black pepper, fresh garlic, chives, and other herbs or spices to enhance flavor without adding sodium.
Endurolytes: full spectrum minerals, not excess sodium
When replenishing electrolytes during exercise, choose Endurolytes. Endurolytes capsules and Endurolytes Fizz contain a full spectrum of minerals, not just sodium and chloride. Endurolytes contains sodium in levels that will not overwhelm your body's natural ability to regulate this vital mineral.
Mark Kirkpatrick is a journalist and health and fitness enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. He has found that productivity starts with healthy habits and hopes to help others achieve their goals through positive reinforcement.