In today’s Ultimate Transformation Moment we focus on sodium in the diet.  Many ask about sodium and the dietary responsibilities we have to understand exactly what sodium is.

Understand that when you take a lot of sodium into the body system, the kidney is the main body party that deals with the distribution of it.  The kidney functions to keep the body in balance.  So once you start accumulating too much sodium in the kidneys, it becomes difficult to eliminate it through urination.  The body must then start to attract and hold on to water and from that the blood volume increases.

That means you’re going to start putting a little more pressure on the heart and the heart is going to work harder and harder to have that blood move through the body system, through the vessels, and eventually, it’s going to increase the pressure of blood flow through the arteries.  This is called high blood pressure – hypertension, which can result in heart disease and possibly stroke.  It also creates some kidney diseases, so we must learn to start limiting salt, which is just a small portion of the sodium we ingest.

Table salt definitely has a lot of sodium in it.  The majority of the processed foods we eat contain a tremendous amount of sodium and sodium chloride. These chemicals help to preserve the foods while they are on the shelves.

Natural foods may also have sodium in them, but in very low concentrations, like celery, onions, and garlic. That’s why you can use these foods when you cook for seasoning. Meats such as, chicken, beef, etc. are preserved during processing, then we pass down family recipes that have a whole bunch of sodium added to make the food taste better.  So, sodium comes in many different ways.

This is the breakdown that I want people to understand: 

1)   About five percent of our daily sodium comes from us adding salt to the foods that we cook;

2)  Another six percent is added while we’re eating, so people sprinkle salt on their food when they’re eating it;

3)  Another 12 percent comes from natural foods, just eating chicken, beef, and other the natural fruits and vegetables.

But look, 77 percent of sodium comes from processed and prepared foods, like out of hamburger stands and canned foods. So, an immediate solution to reducing sodium intake is to simply get back to the basics.  Eat more fresh foods.  Limit the processed and fast foods.

If you’re going to eat processed food, make sure it is low in sodium and then be aware of any additional condiments you use.  Soy sauce, for instance, is very, very high in sodium.  As are salad dressing, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard, pickle relish.  They all increase the daily sodium intake. If the sodium content to calories is one to one or less in the food, then, it’s possibly a good choice. 

Finally, the daily allowance of sodium for a healthy adult, is 2,300 milligrams daily of sodium in our diet.  Now, if you have a heart problem or diabetes, hypertension, the allowance reduces to 1,500 milligrams as the limit. So, let’s make 1,500 milligrams and lower be our daily sodium intake, or less. 

Be mindful of your food packaging.  If something has more than 200 milligrams of sodium in it, you may not want to touch it, because it already has too much sodium.  If you see things that have sodium nitrate, baking soda, baking powder, of course, MSG-Monosodium-glutamate, you have to be very mindful because these items are also very high in sodium.

How do we eliminate or drastically reduce our sodium intake?  Reduce the intake of processed foods; drink more water to help eliminate the sodium that’s already in our body system; and exercise.  Make sure you’re hydrated when exercising.  That helps eliminate a lot of that excess sodium in the body system and helps you have that healthy heart. Look, we can live a long time and we can do a lot for ourselves, but we must be mindful of sodium.

Peace and Be More!