Sodium – Health, Food, & Flavor

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So what’s the deal with salt….I mean sodium….I mean salt…wait, what?? Our bodies need it, but not too much, so how do we know how much or how little we should consume? Confused? Don’t be…we’ll help you out.

Sodium vs Salt

“Salt” and “sodium are terms often mistakenly used interchangeably, but it’s important to note their distinction. After all, we all want to be educated consumers, right?! Salt is actually comprised of two different elements – Sodium (Na; 40%) and Chloride (Cl; 60%). Salt is considered a high sodium food, with 1 tsp. containing 2,300 mg of sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, while the American Heart Association touts a stricter recommendation at 1,500 mg; that’s less than one teaspoon! Americans tend to consume sodium in excess, with the average being 3,400 mg/day. (1)

Sodium & Your Health

Sodium is truly an “essential nutrient,” which means our bodies must obtain sodium from an outside source (food and/or beverages). Sodium is essential to the chemical functions of our bodies and maintaining things like proper fluid balance. The thing is, we only NEED about 200 mg per day to do this. In excess, our bodies have to work harder to remove the unnecessary sodium, putting extra strain on the kidneys to maintain the delicate fluid balance. This extra pressure is commonly known as high blood pressure a.k.a. “hypertension”. Believe it or not, hypertension can be present for years without one having any other symptoms. No, that does not mean we’re all off the hook here; it just means we need to be more cognizant of our body’s subtle signs like chronic water retention, chronic headaches, and fatigue. If left uncontrolled, hypertension increases risk for heart disease and stroke and we want none of that.

Food & Flavor

As is common in the food industry, salt is added to processed foods to contribute to flavor and help maintain shelf life. Approximately 75% of the sodium we consume comes from manufactured products, with the rest from what we add via the salt shaker (5-10%), and what naturally occurs in some food items. (2) There’s no doubt the right amount of salt brings out the best flavors in foods, transforming bland dishes to meals suited for one of those crazy Food Network shows. Okay, maybe it’s not that easy, but no doubt strategic usage is important and entirely possible with the support of organic herbs and spices. If you’re one of those that like to sprinkle you meals with salt, try cutting back a small amount each day. Over time, your taste buds will perceive what you previously thought was bland as the perfectly seasoned meal! We don’t lie about this stuff, people! Just gotta do it.

Because we source fresh ingredients, The Foodery’s products are absent of the sodium inherent in many processed foods. We salt our foods selectively. You may feel the need to add salt before serving….or not.

We care about your health and know you do too. That’s why we craft dishes using enough salt to create a flavorful meal, but do so mindfully, just like you would. Dinner. Is. Done!

References

  1. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/difference-between-salt-sodium-8358.html
  2. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit/healthfacts/sodium.htm