TSD Memphis

Sun04202014

Opinion

Put it down; yes, I mean the saltshaker

Are Americans crazy about salt? Yes, because the number of people suffering from high blood pressure is increasing.
 
 Dr. Timothy Moore

As the economy continues to sputter, not many people would refuse to eat a free meal or a purchased meal at a social event where people don their after-hour attire and are served a fancy entrée followed by dessert and a glass of iced tea.

Food is often served at meetings as well. I attended one the other day and observed people enjoying themselves immensely. They had filled themselves with food that apparently tasted good to them. A smile on their faces and a lethargic look afterward were indicators that the food had served its purpose.

It didn’t take much to satisfy their taste buds, it seemed, but I was appalled after noticing that they relied too much on the saltshaker to season their food. In fact, they’d sprinkled too much salt and didn’t put their eating utensils down until they were finished.

I noticed a few women who had removed their shoes to get comfortable, but after awhile they could not slip them back on as easily. It seemed their feet had swollen just that fast. I attributed this to the amount of salt they’d consumed. I wanted to explain what had happened, but felt out of place.

Are Americans crazy about salt? Yes, because the number of people suffering from high blood pressure is increasing. It seems the higher the pressure, the more salt sufferers crave. Why? According to The American Heart Association, high blood pressure affects one in three adults. Sodium, though sometimes hidden in food, is the root cause of this malady.

Be conscious of your salt intake. Try this for starters: Look at food labels for sodium levels when you’re in the store. Sodium is sometimes hidden or disguised in processed food such as canned soup, which has 700 mg per 8 oz. cup; or spaghetti sauce, which has 500 mg per serving. Sodium also is found in frozen TV dinners and other types of food.

If you’re trying to avoid excessive sodium, look for these big words on food labels: sodium citrate, sodium caseinate, sodium hydroxide, onion salt, garlic salt, sodium nitrate, sodium proprionate, sodium pectinate, and sodium alginate.

You should also avoid using soy sauce, which has 700 mg per tablespoon of sodium, broth (just read the label), and cured in your favorite meat turkey necks and pickled. These are all high in sodium.

The truth to the matter is that just because the label says it has reduced sodium or it is light in sodium doesn’t mean it’s a salt-free product. The daily requirement is 2,400 mg of salt a day, but we take in more than 8,000 mg a day.

Consider the following FYI:

If the label says it’s sodium-free or salt-free, it really means it has less than 5 mg of added sodium per serving.

If the label says very low sodium, it really means less than 35 mg of sodium added per serving.

If the label says low sodium, it really means less than 140 mg of sodium added per serving.

If the label says reduced sodium, it really means at least 25 percent less sodium than the original product.

If the label says light in sodium, it really means at least 50 percent less sodium than the original product.

If the label says unsalted or no salt added, it really means no salt was added doing processing.

Baking soda and monosodium glutamate (msg) also contain too much sodium.

Most processed food contains a litany of food additives with toxic properties, such as sweeteners, artificial color, stabilizers, and nitrates. Preservatives are linked to some forms of cancer in lab animals, which could promote cancer in humans.

Whether your taste buds jump for joy or not over a meal, salt is something you must avoid at all cost. I can’t stress this enough. Look at food labels; read the ingredients. If you don’t understand the language, do a Google search for the definition.

So if you have to go to a restaurant or a social event where food is served, avoid the saltshaker. Less is best. When you’ve had your fill, you might want to remove your shoes to relax. If you do, you won’t have to worry about trying to get them back on because of swollen feet.

(Dr. Timothy Moore teaches nutrition, heart disease and diabetes reversal through a plant-based lifestyle. He is a professional speaker, wellness coach and personal plant-based chef. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit him on the Web sites at www.cheftimothymoore.com or www.twitter.com/cheftimmoore.)

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