Has it ever happened to you that you just went on munching on the packet of chips without realizing how much you actually consumed? Anything in excess can be harmful for your body. Sweet or salty we pass through phases where we have our cravings. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for salt is about 4 g a day for adults. This is less than a teaspoon, yet most of us have a daily consumption that exceeds this amount.
It isn’t exactly difficult to cut down salt; you can do it gradually, reducing your intake every day. The problem is that salt is quite sneaky. It will find your way into your body through processed meat, canned and ‘instant’ foods that are supermarket staples. The only reason these packaged foods last as long as they do is because of the salt in them – salt is known to be an excellent preservative.
Did you know that regular consumption of sodium laden foods can make our bodies crave for more such foods? One physical cause for frequent salt cravings is that of adrenal glands being overworked, probably due to stress. It could also signify dehydration, mineral deficiencies or extremely low blood pressure, which could have other underlying causes.
Most of you would agree that it is easier to curb the salt intake and not the sugar. However, there are ways for you to control the salt intake as well with these simple steps.
As we mentioned earlier, nearly all kinds of packaged food and fast food comes with a lot of added salt. When you visit the supermarket next opt for aisles that have healthier food. In case you have to buy packaged or canned food, read the labels; the less ingredients the better. Also check for sodium content – it should be no more than 120 mg per 100 g of food.
Use Flavoring Substitutes
The main reason we tend to consume excess salt is for flavoring purposes. But the fact is that salt can be substituted with other spices and condiments with very little difference in taste. Rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and pepper are all great ways to add flavor without the sodium.
A good many cravings are psychological rather than physiological. Seeing salty food presented attractively can induce cravings for the same. If an ad for potato chips on TV tempts you, change the channel immediately. Switch off and attempt to do something unrelated! It may just help. A lot of binge eating also happens when you’re bored, so keep yourself occupied in productive pursuits.
Stock up on Healthy Snacks
If you look carefully, you’ll find that most packaged foods come under the ‘snack’ category. Even people who cook their own meals at home tend to snack on food from outside. This adds a lot of extra salt to their diet, even if the portions are small. The best way out here is to keep healthy snacking options at home like popcorn, unsalted nuts or fruits.
Eat ‘Cleansing’ Foods
The next time you feel a craving for something salty, try and deliberately opt foods that are rich in other minerals so that it can also help to flush the excess sodium from the body. High potassium foods like spinach, bananas, almonds and milk are great for this purpose as is drinking lots of water.
Don’t get caught with fancy diets that recommend different types of salts claiming that they are healthier than the traditional table salt. The truth is that salt is salt! Follow these simple steps to keep your consumption to a minimum and curb your cravings with these tips. Let there be salt for all, but only within the required limits!!
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