Almost half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure makes your heart and blood vessels work harder which, over time, can lead to heart disease and stroke. We all know that a healthy diet and regular exercise is good for our hearts, but most experts agree reducing the amount of sodium in your diet is another heart-healthy step you can take.
Sodium, What is it Good For?
Some sodium is essential for regulating fluids and electrolytes in your body. But how do we know how much is enough or too much? The FDA recommends eating no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day and 1,500 if you’re in a high-risk group. To make this easier to visualize, that’s about a teaspoon (or less) of table salt. What makes it challenging to control how much salt we consume is that most of the salt we eat is not the kind we sprinkle on our food. Sodium is prevalent in packaged and processed foods. A typical fast food meal, for example, contains around 1,300 mg of sodium.
The Pickled Beet eliminates all the guesswork for you by creating menus tailored to your specific dietary requirements and preparing all meals from scratch using fresh organic ingredients. If your physician recommends a low-sodium or even no-sodium diet, we’re here for you. We’ll add plenty of flavor and variety so you won’t miss the salt.
As always, it’s important to read nutrition labels on packaged foods. Foods with a 5% or lower daily value of sodium are considered low sodium, and foods with up to 140 mg of sodium can be labeled low sodium. Foods with 20% or more daily value of sodium are considered high sodium and should be avoided. Canned foods are typically high in sodium. Even “healthy” canned foods like tuna and beans should be rinsed in water before eating to wash away some of the extra sodium.
What About Sea Salt?
It’s important to note that all salt at some point was sea salt. Sea salts are the result of evaporating saltwater, whereas ordinary table salt comes from salt deposits in areas that once contained seawater millions of years ago. The main difference between “regular” salt and sea salt is that ordinary table salt contains anti-caking additives as well as iodine.
Iodine is another mineral our bodies need to produce thyroid hormone. But plenty of foods, including fish, dairy, and vegetables, supply iodine. Iodine also doesn’t taste very good, so there’s really no need to iodize salt. Kosher salt or coarse salt is more desirable than table salt since it is not iodized and, because of the larger surface area of the granules, one teaspoon of kosher salt has about 1,800 mg of sodium versus 2,300 in table salt.
Help, I Have a Salt Tooth
A salt tooth, like a sweet tooth, really is a thing. The good news is it can be reversed. Research has found that a taste for salt is acquired and you can wean yourself from your taste for salt by gradually reducing the amount of salt you use and substituting salt with other flavorful spices like in the recipe below.
Chicken Fajitas (Sodium Free)
2 pound(s) chicken breast, cut into strips
1 yellow onion thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
3 garlic clove, , minced
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) chili powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) cumin
1/2 teaspoon(s) coriander, ground
1 teaspoon(s) pepper
FOR PICO DE GALLO
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 TBSP cilantro, fresh, minced
2 TBSP onion, minced
Lettuce wraps as tortillas
1 head iceberg lettuce
Marinate the chicken and veggies for 30 minutes.
Saute until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
In the meantime, assemble the pico de gallo ingredients.
Serve fajitas in lettuce wraps topped with the pico de gallo.
If you have high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease, reducing your sodium intake could be life-saving. At the Pickled Beet, our chefs prepare dishes 100% from scratch, using only fresh, organic ingredients. We know how to produce flavorful meals using a variety of spices and herbs so you won’t miss the salt. Contact us for a free consultation.