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Minimize Sodium to Boost Your Metabolism

Sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, lurks in many of the foods you eat. Sodium causes an increase in blood volume, which puts a lot of added burden on your kidneys, which are your filtering system. When that system slows, you are also effectively slowing your metabolic rate.

Sodium functions in the body to regulate nerve impulses, balance fluids, and contract and relax muscles. The typical American diet contains twice the amount of sodium a person needs, and too much sodium puts you at increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th Edition recommends that you stick to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day — that’s one teaspoon of table salt.

The first step is to remove the salt shaker from the table and don’t use it while cooking at home. When looking at food labels, go for products that have less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.

However, almost two-thirds of the sodium Americans eat comes from food bought in stores, and another fourth comes from food in restaurants. Sodium is also added to many products to preserve shelf-life and flavor.

The sneaky and not-so-sneaky sodium culprits in your diet include the following:

  • Bread — the number one sodium contributor according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

  • Cheese

  • Cured, canned, smoked, and processed meats and fish

  • Canned soups

  • Salted snack foods like chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts

  • Frozen or boxed convenience foods

  • Fast foods like hamburgers, tacos, pizza, Chinese food

  • Pickled vegetables like pickles, olives, and relish

  • Condiments like soy sauce, barbecue sauce, gravy mixes

Anything with salt in its name, such as like garlic salt or onion salt, contains sodium. Products like sea salt offer no benefit and aren’t any healthier than regular salt — although they may be marketed as such, they affect your blood pressure and heart health the same way as any other kind.

However, you may be able to use less of it, because the crystal size can affect how it tastes and how much of it you use.

Sodium retains water, so the day after you have a big dinner out, you might feel more bloated than normal or gain a couple of pounds on the scale. Don’t fret. Just monitor your intake of sodium to help prevent this bloated feeling and keep you feeling your very best.

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