Nutso-Sweet Friday- Earth Day & Reducing sodium

Happy NUTSO-SWEET Friday!
Any fun and flexible Friday or weekend plans?
How are you celebrating EARTH DAY?
Although, we celebrate Earth every day, don’t we?  🙂
FACT:  An acre of trees absorbs enough carbon dioxide per year to match the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a car driven 26.000 miles. (National Tree Trust)
So many fun things to enjoy this weekend. If you live near Ventura, CA,
please stop by Lassen’s Natural Foods and say “HI.” Mac-n-Mo’s will be
passing out morsel samples..
and in that FUN vein, here’s a guest post I wrote that FOODUCIARY published today:
Please share  how you celebrate and honor EARTH!
And, how are your DEFEAT DIABETES ideas coming along?
Keep sending to me for our contest. 1 week left!
Thanks to all of you for your NUTSO-SWEET questions and of course, to
Nutri-Savvy’s Lauren O’Connor, my amazing R.D. partner!
Q: How concerned should I be about the sodium in my diet? I’m in my 30’s and in general good health.
A: High sodium intake can increase the risk for high blood pressure (HBP) in all individuals, especially as we age. Did you know 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure. Although risks may be increased due to ethnicity and age factors, it is never too early to start working on prevention. (Black Americans are at increased risk as are middle aged individuals.) The condition on its own has no symptoms, however, abnormal high blood pressure through the arteries can be taxing on the blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This leads to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other co-morbidities. It’s a good thing HBP can be controlled with diet and lowering sodium intake (along with a healthful diet) can help decrease risk.
Early prevention includes finding ways to cut the sodium and implementing a healthy lifestyle eating plan to include plenty of whole foods: fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins. And favoring whole foods over highly processed, which often contain more sodium than one is aware. That is because sodium is used to preserve, add in flavor and portion sizes may be deceiving. So always read the labels – one portion can be smaller than you think.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests a daily sodium range between 1500 and 2300, the lower limits depending on age, disease status (diabetes, obesity), and other risk factors.  Studies do show that a diet closer to 1500 may actually be more preventative against stroke and heart disease.
Sadly, it is far to easy to exceed 2300mg / day (fast foods, oversize restaurant portions of highly salted foods). And Americans in general do tend to overdue portion sizes which will increase your daily sodium totals.
So whatever your age, ethnicity, health status, it is never too early to be conscious of your sodium intake. Besides habits are easier to build upon than to break.
Here are some tips for de-salting your diet:
  • Read your labels, but don’t go nuts: Instead opt for more natural foods (think anything that grows from the ground and served in its most natural form) since they contain less sodium, but still pack in flavor. Brown rice can have a nice, nutty flavor. Oats add in a slight sweetness. Once you become more sensitive to plant foods, you’ll realize how much flavor a fresh, quality (unadulterated) fruit, vegetable, nut or legume can actually have on its own.
  • Wean off highly processed foods, these can likely add more sodium to your diet; low sodium is best, but you are better off discovering the flavors and textures of natural foods (without worrying about all those additives). And besides it may be hard to stick to one small portion.
  • Banish the salt shaker: You can add flavor with the juice of lemon and a combination of natural herbs/spices
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4 thoughts on “Nutso-Sweet Friday- Earth Day & Reducing sodium”

  1. Earth day, you say? I’m taking a walk through Griffith park to refresh, reflect…and most of all enjoy the trees and nature. Thanks so much, Mo for being a great inspiration and keeping our NUTSO-SWEET column going strong!

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