Op-Ed: Tame Your Salt Intake in 5 Easy Ways

Posted Jun 21, 2013 by Enozia Vakil
The ill-effects of excessive salt consumption on health are well-known. Find out five easy ways to ditch that old enemy. Read on…
Salt farmers harvesting salt  Pak Thale  Ban Laem  Phetchaburi  Thailand.
Salt farmers harvesting salt, Pak Thale, Ban Laem, Phetchaburi, Thailand.
JJ Harrison (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Find out five easy ways to ditch that old enemy. Read on...
Salt, or in general terms, sodium, is a vital part of our daily diet. The human body does need a precise balance of salt and water in itself, to maintain optimum function.
An excess of salt or sodium in the diet, however, could be potentially dangerous to health, inviting many health issues including hypertension, heart disease, stroke and even stomach cancer. A healthy adult should take in no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
Believe it or not, today, we take in quantities of salt that are way beyond what we actually require. Think about it; everything that we eat today, right from a simple loaf of bread to a bag of potato chips, is oozing with sodium.
Salt is actually meant to improve the flavors of food, not overpower the taste of what you are actually eating. "Salt should boost the other flavors in your food," says food scientist Robert L. Wolke.
But if you are someone who practically lives on packaged foods and take-away's, you might want to reconsider your priorities. Excessive salt consumption can be a big deal, sometimes fatal too.
Here are a few steps to get you started and help you better manage your salt intake without compromising on the taste.
Ditch the table salt: The table salt is one of the biggest culprits to an elevated blood pressure and several cardiovascular conditions. Many people have the habit of liberally sprinkling a good amount of salt on their foods before getting started, and if you're one of those, dump the shaker without giving it a second thought. If it's out of your sight, it's out of your mind.
Load up the spice racks: Your taste buds can act pretty stubborn when it comes to craving something. One amazingly effective way to beat this is to experiment with different spices. The next time you feel a craving coming up; sprinkle some chilli flakes or paprika powder, or any other spice you like, to your food, instead of salt.
Cook smarter: Yet another effective way to tackle salt intake is to avoid adding salt to your food while cooking. Instead, sprinkle salt over your meal just when you are about to start eating it. That way, you'll be taking in a much lesser amount of salt.
Check the labels: Awareness is the key to a positive change, which is why, it's important to know the facts, and know them well. Check the labels on the packaged and tinned stuff the next time you visit the supermarket aisle, and weigh your options wisely. It's always better to opt for home-cooked versions of anything and everything.
Distract your taste buds: If there's one single smart move that can help you tame this trouble, it is this. Just when you feel a craving hitting you, get to the bathroom and brush your teeth and use a strong, mint-flavored toothpaste. The idea behind this is that no matter what you eat after this, it will taste bitter. Diet-conscious people use this to lose weight too!