Category : Health

sodium_and_salt

Sodium and Salt

Did you know that sodium and salt are not entirely the same thing? In fact, in its natural form, salt is found as a crystalline mineral. However, when we think of salt, we defer to sodium – or sodium chloride to be more precise. Salt IS composed primarily of sodium chloride, but in its natural unprocessed state. Therefore, not all salts are created equally (much like sugar.) Let’s explore the major differences between sodium and salt and how they impact our overall health, as well as, wellness goals.saltvssalt

SODIUM

In today’s society, most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. too_much_saltThat’s more than TWICE the recommended amount by the American Heart Association. Approximately 75% of the sodium we eat comes from sodium added to processed foods and in restaurants. This is a huge obstacle when it comes to moderating or reducing your sodium intake, as it is already added to the food before you buy it. SaltThe second largest contributor to excessive sodium intake is contributed to our salt shakers. Common table salt consists of 100% sodium chloride, 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Only one-quarter (1/4) of a teaspoon equates to nearly 575 milligrams of sodium! What’s the alternative? Natural salt.

NATURAL SALT

natural_salt4Salt is a mineral composed of mainly two elements; sodium and chloride. However, natural salt is unrefined and unprocessed sodium chloride PLUS eighty-two other natural occurring mineral elements. The major elements are calcium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus, sulfur and magnesium. A few of the trace elements include: iron, fluorine, copper, zinc, chromium, iodine, manganese, cobalt etc. These are the same elements found in our bodies for maintaining optimum health. Our bodies contain the same salt fluid (water and natural salt,) as that found in the primordial sea. No manufacturing company can create a substance that matches the healing and health properties of natural salt.

For example, deficiencies in these trace elements can cause cells to lose the ability to manage their ions. Ion imbalance is the bursting of the body’s cells, which in turn causes a whole host of health problems. The body’s ability to balance and manage ions is essential to preventing conditions like muscle spasms, nervous disorders, and brain damage. Additionally, preventing ion loss helps maintain a proper PH balance which helps prevent other toxin induced diseases. Maintaining ion balance is fundamental to ensuring cell regeneration and growth. cell-oxygenSimply put, natural salt contains minerals needed by the body to function properly. The solution is up to you. Moderate your sodium intake, shop smart, read your nutrition labels, and avoid eating out regularly.

Here’s a helpful guide to sodium related terms found on food packaging

to help moderate your daily sodium intake:

Sodium-Free: less than 5mg of sodium per serving (contains no chloride)

Very Low-Sodium: less than 35 mg sodium per serving

Low-Sodium: less than 140mg sodium per serving

Reduced or Less-Sodium: at least 25% less sodium than the original product

Light: “low-calorie” and “low-fat” and at least 50% less sodium than the original product

Pile of cans of conserved food over white background

*CAUTION: Be sure to watch the sugar content on reduced, low-fat and light products, as the sodium is often displaced by sugars to aide in flavor and preservation

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Sugar, Sugar, SUGAR!

sugar3 Often times when shopping for our favorite items at the grocery store, we tend to look at the nutrition label. This is a great habit and practice to get into; however, are we examining all the items we should be? For example, it’s easy to quickly glance at the calories and fat per serving, which are great starting points, but we need to delve deeper into the other contents. When was the last time you checked your sodium or sugar intake?

funny_nutrition_cartoonAccording to Food Processing Magazine, less than 60% of Americans take nutritional content into consideration, placing taste and cost above benefits. Ultimately, those that do shop labels place greater priority on fat content – linking fat content to weight gain. However, many people might be surprised to find that their health and weight loss goals are directly impacted by the amount of sodium and sugar they are consuming on a daily bases. In this two-part series, we will delve into the impact of sugar and sodium on our overall wellness.

Impact of Sugar…

Simply stated, not all sugar is created equal. What this means is that sugar comes in many different forms, majority are bad for your body and digestive system, and others are okay. For example, using pure cane sugar is a great way of sweetening many of your favorite foods without the risk of added ingredients (like the heavily processed high-fructose corn syrup.) But when it comes to finding the nutritional benefits of sugar, that’s a bit of a stretch. Yes, your body does need a certain amount of sugar in its system to help produce glucose for the brain; however, more natural and raw forms of sugar are readily available and are easier for your body to process. As is always true, the ultimate key is moderation! Let’s explore how irregular sugar patterns can impact your energy levels throughout the day.

If you were to chart your energy levels throughout the day in comparison to your sugar intake, you would notice not only a direct correlation, but it would also resemble a roller coaster ride. With all those ups and downs, it’s no wonder you might be exhausted by the end of your day! The “sweet spot” would be to keep your sugar levels at a consistent level throughout the entire day, helping to regulate your energy. It would be similar to running a marathon; you would not want to expend all your energy in the first mile when you’ve got a lot further to go. Consider reaching for an apple the next time that sweet tooth is aching, with only 13 grams of natural sugar, its a great way to take care of your craving without going overboard! Remember, the more sugar you eat, the more your body craves it.

From Fat to Sugar…
Sugar-Vs.-Fat

Due to popular belief that fat content is the main contributing factor to weight gain and loss, there is a greater increase in “fat-free” and “reduced fat” foods on the market. Although these products may contain “less” fat, they often contain higher amounts of sugar as a substitute. This shift from fat to sugar has resulted in the ever-increasing number of people suffering with obesity. In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that the intake of “free” sugars should not exceed 10% of your daily calories. According to WHO, free sugars are defined as sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, or those naturally present in fruit juice, syrups, and honey. In January 2013, Jim Mann, DM, PhD, professor of human nutrition and medicine at the University of Otago, directly linked excess sugar in the diet (including both sugary foods and drinks) to obesity and a higher risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes.

What’s the solution?

Until manufacturers start valuing nutritional content over cutting corners with processed sugars and additives; it’s important to remain a vigilant and informed consumer. Don’t just check the calories and fat content on labels, be sure you are reading the entire label (including sugar and sodium) and making health smart choices. Food manufacturers didn’t always use additives and fillers, this was done as a shift in demand from consumers for cheaper products – as seen again in our transition to “fat-free” and “reduced fat.” Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.… We need not wait to see what others do.”

Fresh-Summer-Produce

Produce in Season for Summer!

It’s so easy, enjoyable, and affordable to indulge your cravings for fresh produce this time of year. For anyone who enjoys cooking, this is your season! With fresh fruits and vegetables available at local Farmer’s Markets, produce stands, etc. it’s easy to see why any chef would prefer this time of year. The key of this season is to go simple and allow the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs really shine through in your dishes. What are you waiting for? Grab your shopping bags and head to your nearest Farmer’s Market this weekend!

Let’s explore some of our fresh and local Summer produce options you will find in Colorado:

colorado-produce_summer“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.”

-Alice Waters