Is salt equated to flavor in the foods we eat? Are we addicted to salt? Is salt killing us?
Many of us consume well over the daily-recommended amount of sodium, or salt, according to the American Dietetic Association. Over time, this can cause high blood pressure that leads to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. It is important to understand how many milligrams of salt you should consume each day and how you can manage your sodium intake. [Did I just hear you say how much IS a milligram?] This information has it’s own shroud of mystery because we know what a cup is or a tablespoon, but milligrams? 23000 mg’s? Even my baker’s scale doesn’t register mg’s.
Born with sweet and bitter taste buds, salt taste buds are developed at 5 months. There are foods that are naturally rich in a sodium and some include it’s balance: potassium, and a balanced diet is always the goal. Maybe the salt craving is because we aren’t eating enough foods naturally rich in sodium. It’s really best to get all of our nutritional needs from food. When we eat a well balanced diet we feel both satisfied, energized and light.
It’s the salt that we add to food that is a problem: if you LOVE popcorn but can’t even imagine eating it without salt, you might be addicted to salt. If your idea of a snack food is potato chips or corn chips or an unnatural orange colored crunchy thing of one style or another, you might be addicted to salt. You’re not tasting the puffy orange thing or the corn or potato they are nearly carriers of the salt. There is an addictive element to table salt, the more we have, the more we want. Salty snacks are free at a bar because they go hand in hand with thirst and the more you nibble the more you drink and it’s REALLY hard to control the nibble and the drinking!
If you’re eating chicken after it’s been in a salt brine, and dusted with flour seasoned with salt and then salted when it gets out of the fryer you might be equating salt with flavor. Commercial chickens are processed in salt water because it adds weighs that you pay for and because salt is a preservative. If you’re not cooking your own organic chicken assume that salt is a big part of the way that chicken was preserved and cooked whether it comes in a box, a bucket or on a fine china plate. Even roasted chickens are highly salted; ‘It tastes like chicken’ might more accurately be: ‘It tastes like salt’.
Just try a few popped corn kernels before you cover them with salt and butter fats, it is a subtle flavor that gets completely lost with salt. Can you taste it or does it taste like cardboard? If you can’t taste the popped corn, you might be equating salt with flavor.
Try baking thinly sliced potato or corn tortillas with a slight spray of olive oil and see if your taste buds can appreciate the true corn or potato flavor. But these flavors will become obvious when you ween yourself off of an diet that is including excessive amounts of sodium.
THE ACTUAL AMOUNT
It’s not that we don’t need salt, the problem is that mass produced food companies include salt in processing dry goods, canned goods and mixes. One of the problems for the consumer, even if reading labels, is that we live in teaspoon world and packaging lists nutrition by milligrams. Which is why I’m going to give you the cold hard truth right now: The recommended amount of sodium that you should consume in a day depends on your age.
- Children ages 2 to 3 need 1,000 mg of sodium a day (a little more than 1/3 a teaspoon).
- Children 4-8 yrs. old need 1,200 mg a day (½ teaspoon)
- From 9 to 18 should consume 1,500 mg (⅔ teaspoon).
- Adults need 2,300 mg of sodium a day, which is equal to about a teaspoon of salt. A teaspoon of salt a day!
Go get a measuring spoon and pour the salt in your hand and if you have a child at the appropriate age pour it in their hand. Another example of ‘Using the proportions of your body for portions of food’. see that blog here: https://www.good2eat4U.wordpress
BTW (by the way) 1000 MG = 1 GRAM
GET A GRIP
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 10 percent of the salt consumed is naturally found in foods. Five percent to 10 percent consists of table salt, and around 75 percent comes from processed foods or dishes prepared in restaurants. That may be a clue to the source of ‘too much salt’. But that can be easily shifted.
Packaged bottled seasonings (used in restaurants and bought at supermarkets) include salt as one of the first 2 ingredients, because there’s more salt than the other ingredients (listed by % of content) and salt is heavy and cheap, addictive and equated as flavor. I love when I hear a TV Chef say: “salt brings out flavor” I’m sorry but salt masks flavor, all you can taste is the salt. Salt may chemically effect baking but it does not ‘bring out flavor’. Once you bring down your salt intake you’ll notice how wonderful food actually tastes. Even my grandson in the first grade told me after one month of low sodium meals that he now ‘hates Mc D because everything tastes like salt.’ And that boy was hooked on nuggets and French fries.
You can help reduce your sodium intake by using fresh or dried spices and herbs like mint, oregano, cilantro, rosemary and dill to season your food. Or I have developed HERBLENDS, which are salt and sugar free and formulated to eliminate cravings for salt. These powdered seasonings, are fusions of signature ethnic flavor profiles: Hertaliana, Heroccan, Herspanic, Herspanic Smokey, Herspanic Spicy and Hercajun. https://www.good2eat4U.com
Read labels. Read the labels on everything you eat. Even to just check the sodium content. You will be amazed. Bread products are high in sodium, for example.
When you watch a TV Chef reach into the salt bowl and sprinkle a day’s amount of salt on a dish step after step after step and then add a tomato product that is packaged with more salt and serve it with vegetables with more salt and potatoes cooked in ‘enough salt to make it like sea water’ you will start to get the picture: we are conditioned to equate salt with flavor.
WHEN THE DOCTOR SAYS: “CUT BACK”
Your doctor might suggest that you consume less than the recommended amount of sodium if you have certain health risks like hypertension, high blood pressure or kidney problems, you might want to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. Your doctor might suggest that you reduce your sodium intake if you are middle age or older because we are a food culture in salt consumption overload.
If you’re planning to eat a meal prepared by a restaurant eat low-sodium food the rest of the day and balance it with foods rich in potassium. Here is a short list of foods that are rich in potassium which can help reduce the sodium effect on your blood pressure:
- White beans
- Baked Potatoes with the skin
- Leafy Greens
- Dried Apricots
- Baked Squash- the brighter the better
- Fish all fish is high in potassium especially:salmon, pompano, lingcod, halibut, tuna, anchovies, mackerel,
- Yogurt, plain non-fat
HOW TO DOWNLOAD
The sooner you start dramatically cutting back on your salt consumption the better. Here’s what you have to look forward to: you will lose weight. Bloat will melt away because salt is rough on the kidneys and is water retentive. Salt is inflammatory, you will be in less pain because inflammation causes pain and pain is your body’s way of getting your attention to treat it better. You will have fewer wrinkles on you eye lids and under your eyes, I notice how much more I look like ET when I’ve had a salty dish.
There is also a difference in the salt that we consume: table salt is processed into a fine grain and isn’t easily assimilated into nutrition; sea salt and Kosher salt is better to cook with, both break from chrysalis into flakes, which is easier for us to absorb. To get rid of the table salt that you might have on hand use it as a face scrub to encourage the wrinkles to disappear faster. Just mix a tablespoon of table salt with a little sesame oil and lemon juice enough to make a paste and gently exfoliate in upward circular motions starting at the neck. Rinse with temped water.
But here’s the best part, you will actually start to taste food again. You will taste the sweet corn, the unique flavor of chicken, beef will taste beefier, pork will taste sweeter, vegetables will taste more varied and you will truly appreciate what you are eating. You’ll know that the breakthrough has happened when you go to eat something that you used to eat all the time and you actually realize how salty a lot of what you were eating all the time really truly is and you will know that you are dodging the bullet that excessive salt intake is.