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Salty Foods: How Sodium Affects Your Weight

You probably know that sodium can affect your blood pressure, but did you know it can also affect your weight? At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress, Texas, helping you stay healthy is our top priority.

In this blog, highly experienced physician Hammad Qureshi, MD, discusses how much sodium you should consume and how eating too much can affect your weight.

The recommended daily amount of sodium

Most people are not in danger of getting too little sodium in their diet. You only need about 500 milligrams of sodium a day for your body to function. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, with 1,500 milligrams being the ideal. One teaspoon is about 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The average American adult consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, which is much higher than needed. 

How sodium affects your weight

Sodium attracts water. The problem with this is that high amounts of sodium in your blood can cause large amounts of water to be retained in your blood vessels. And the more water you have in your blood vessels, the more pressure there will be in them.

To add to the problem, because sodium causes more water to be retained in your body, this will cause you to gain weight. Furthermore, several studies have shown that a high sodium diet can actually cause you to drink less water and be more hungry, which could then lead to overeating and more weight gain. In addition, having high blood pressure could make it more difficult to comfortably work out, which could lead to a sedentary lifestyle and even more weight gain.

How to reduce sodium in your diet

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of salt you consume every day.

Cook more 

Many restaurant foods have high levels of sodium, so cooking at home can help you reduce your sodium intake. Choose whole foods from the produce section, as canned and processed foods usually contain more sodium. 

Avoid condiments

Many condiments, such as ketchup, salad dressing, and soy sauce are normally loaded with sodium. Reduce the use of these items as much as possible to lower your intake of salt. Try using a salt substitute, or flavor your food with herbs and spices.

Taste first

Try your food first before automatically reaching for the salt shaker. It may not actually need extra salt to taste good. Furthermore, gradually reduce the amount of salt you use and your tastebuds will adjust to the new levels. 

Rinse canned goods

The liquid that surrounds canned beans, vegetables, and tuna is usually loaded with sodium. When you open a can, rinse away the liquid, and this should significantly reduce the salt content of these items. 

Read labels

Before you buy packaged or processed foods, read the labels for sodium content. You will start to learn which foods contain high levels of sodium and which do not. Then, find substitutes whenever possible. 

If you take the time to educate yourself about sodium and find ways to reduce your intake, you can help reduce your blood pressure, reduce your weight, and improve your overall health.

To learn more about losing weight, controlling your blood pressure, or improving any other part of your health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Creekside Family Practice today.

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