Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Salt Awareness Week (March 20-26, 2017)

The Human Body needs a certain level of salt in order to function. Sodium maintains fluid balance and cardiovascular function; sodium and chloride ions also play an important role in the nervous system. Changes in the concentrations of these ions allow neurons to send signals to other neurons and cells, allowing for nerve transmission as well as mechanical movement. Chloride ions provided by salt are secreted in the gastric juice as hydrochloric acid (HCL).  And HCL is vital to the digestion of food and the destruction of food-borne pathogens in the stomach.

Ingesting too much salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water. The result is a higher blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. Not ingesting enough salt or hyponatremia, can cause nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy and fatigue, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, and even Coma. It’s important not to have too much or too little sodium in your diet. The recommended daily intake of salt is 2300 mg, or a teaspoon of salt per day. Most people today are eating much more than that. The average intake of sodium is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods.Salt is not to be included with the flavor enhancer, MSG.  

Sometimes it’s better to take matters in to your own hands, Here’s a low sodium breakfast recipe to help you get the day started on the right foot:

Baked Eggs with Hashbrowns
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
1/2 large red bell pepper (diced)
12 ounces sweet potato (large dice)
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tsp dried sage
2 large eggs
1 ounce reduced-fat Monterrey jack cheese (grated)
Makes 2 servings
Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue sauteing for another 2 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are soft. Add the salt, pepper, and sage and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes on low. Divide the potatoes between two oven proof dishes. Break one egg on top of the potatoes in each dish. Place the dishes in the oven and bake for about ten minutes until the eggs are almost done to your liking. Top with the grated cheese and bake for one minute or until the cheese is melted, then serve.

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