Sodium is a mineral that is essential for human health. It helps the body regulate fluid levels, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve function. Sodium is naturally present in many foods and is added to others as a way of enhancing flavours and preserving freshness. Although a minimum amount of sodium is required for good health, a diet high in sodium can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, osteoporosis, kidney disease, and stomach cancer. Experts recommend consuming no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium each day (about one teaspoon of salt). This is why the following eight low-sodium foods are the perfect addition to a healthy diet.
Fresh And Frozen Vegetables
Dietitians encourage people to load up on fresh and frozen vegetables because they are naturally low in sodium, containing less than 50 milligrams per serving. Fresh and frozen vegetables are also packed with other nutrients, such as potassium (which helps the body excrete sodium), folic acid, dietary fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. In addition, they are low in fat and calories. Canned vegetables are an option, but people must be careful when consuming them because they can be high in sodium. People who like eating canned vegetables should choose a low-sodium brand or use a strainer to rinse the vegetables in water for at least thirty seconds to remove excess sodium.
Baked Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes are naturally low in sodium with only about 6 milligrams of sodium per potato. Both white and sweet potatoes are packed with essential minerals and vitamins. White potatoes contain more minerals, including magnesium, iron, and potassium. They also contain calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, contain more vitamin A and fibre and are lower on the glycemic index.
Foods lower on the glycemic index are considered better options because high glycemic index foods are quickly digested and cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. People can prepare their potatoes in ways that help lower their glycemic index, such as by adding olive oil, sour cream, avocados, vinegar, citrus, salsa, proteins, and fibre-rich foods. Methods of preparing potatoes that increase their glycemic index include leaving the skin on, cooling the potatoes before eating them, and boiling instead of baking them.
Unsalted nuts do not contain any sodium. They are also a great source of fibre; protein; B vitamins; vitamin E; calcium; zinc; iron; magnesium; potassium; and antioxidant minerals, including manganese, copper, and selenium. In addition, nuts contain unsaturated fats, which makes them healthy for the heart. Some of the healthiest nuts include macadamia nuts, which contain more good fat than other nuts; cashews, which are high in zinc, iron, and magnesium; brazil nuts, which can help prevent cancer due to their high selenium content; and walnuts, which are high in antioxidants. Because nuts are high in calories, it is important to eat them sparingly.
Fruits are naturally low in sodium and have many nourishing qualities. They are loaded with essential minerals and vitamins, including folate, potassium, and vitamin C, and help ward off such diseases as heart disease and some cancers. Fruits are also high in fibre, which reduces the risk of bowel cancer, and contain limited fat and calories, which helps people maintain a healthy weight. The best time to eat fruit is first thing in the morning after drinking a glass of water. Experts recommend that people avoid eating fruit immediately after a meal because when combined with the meal, the fruit may take too long to digest and, therefore, rot and ferment in the stomach. Wait at least thirty minutes after consuming a meal to eat fruit.
Naturally low in sodium, yogurt is high in many essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, magnesium, and potassium. It also contains protein and probiotics, live bacteria that keep the gut healthy and boost the immune system. Probiotics are known to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections; heal inflammatory bowel conditions; soothe and prevent eczema in children; fight food-borne illnesses; and ease digestive issues, such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, and constipation. In addition, yogurt can help people lose weight and reduce belly fat. Studies have shown that dieters who eat yogurt lose weight faster than dieters who do not eat yogurt do.
Beans, Lentils, And Grains
Beans, lentils, and grains are not only low in sodium. They are also highly nutritious and a great source of protein; fibre; complex carbohydrates; antioxidants; vitamins; and minerals, including folate, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. Consuming beans, lentils and grains regularly can help decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer and assist with weight management. Studies have shown that eating beans and lentils just twice per week can lower the risk of breast cancer for women by twenty-five percent. Lentils are also good for pregnant women because they are high in folate, which helps to prevent birth defects. Consider eating beans and lentils with foods rich in vitamin C to optimize iron absorption.
Eggs And Egg Substitutes
Eggs are naturally low in sodium and contain small amounts of many vitamins and minerals the human body requires, including iron, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, and copper. Most of the protein in eggs is found in the egg white whereas the egg yolk is the major source of vitamins and minerals. The egg yolk also contains the fat (good fat) and cholesterol. A large-sized egg contains fewer than eighty calories.
For this reason, when people incorporate eggs into a well-balanced diet, they can assist with weight loss by providing essential nutrients and keeping people feeling full with fewer calories. Experts recommend that healthy people consume a maximum of one egg per day and that people with high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes consume no more than two eggs per week.
Healthy Food House
Even the fish with the highest sodium content contain fewer than 100 milligrams of sodium per 3-ounce cooked portion. Shellfish usually contains more sodium (about 100 to 500 milligrams per 3-ounce cooked serving). Fish is also rich in essential nutrients for healthy heart and brain functioning, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein. All fish are good sources of nutrients, but some fish are better for the body than others.
The fatty types of fish, such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel, are considered the healthiest because they contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of several diseases and helps the brain and body function optimally. Fish with higher mercury content (larger, predatorial types of fish) should be eaten sparingly whereas smaller fish with lower mercury levels can be eaten more frequently. On average, experts recommend eating no more than two meals or 12 ounces of fish per week.