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·       Your body needs sodium for many basic processes essential to life.

·       It helps your muscles function, allows your nerves to send impulses throughout your body and helps regulate the balance of fluids in all of your tissues.

·       But if you consume too much sodium, over time this can lead to potentially serious health problems.

o   Your kidneys help regulate the amount of sodium in your body.

o   If you take in more than you need, your kidneys remove it by making more urine, a liquid that contains sodium.

o   However, if the amount of sodium in your body is too great, your kidneys may not be able to get rid of the excess.

o   As a result, the extra sodium can cause your blood volume to increase, raising pressure on the walls of your blood vessels and causing high blood pressure.

o   Over time, this can damage your vessel walls, making them less elastic and increasing your risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

o   High blood pressure can also increase the load on your heart, making it work harder and raising your risk of heart attack and stroke.

·       Managing your sodium intake is of key importance to maintaining your health and well being.

·       The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that most Americans consume more sodium than they need.

·       It recommends limiting your intake to 2.4 grams daily, the equivalent of 6 grams of table salt, or about 1 teaspoon.

·       If you already have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing the disorder, or if you have diabetes, kidney disease or heart failure, you should limit your sodium consumption to 1.5 grams of sodium daily, or about 2/3 teaspoon of table salt.


Low-sodium snacks

1.     Apple and Peanut Butter

a.     All whole fruit is naturally low in salt

b.     Fruits in general are high in potassium, which may help balance out the negative effects of sodium on health

c.     The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends pairing a tablespoon of low-salt or salt-free nut butter with a sliced medium apple

d.     Less than 200 calories.


2.     Trail Mix

a.     People who snack on nuts tend to have a higher quality diet than those who snack on sweets, according to research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

b.     Choose the unsalted versions to skim salt even more

c.     Try making your own low-sodium trail mix by combining 20 almonds, a small box of raisins, and ¼ cup of sunflower seeds.


3.     Assorted Veggies and Dip

a.     Eating veggie-based snacks has been linked to a healthier weight.

b.     Veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber, plus they are naturally low in sodium

c.     Pair raw veggies like baby carrots, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, radishes, red bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of low-fat, low-salt dressing or a Greek-yogurt based di  i.     Makes for a filling low-sodium snack that is under 200 calories.

4.     Kale chips

a.     Kale is a superfood

b.     Packed with beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and calcium

c.     Great with salads, soups, and stews, but it's probably most addictive in chip form.

d.     Season kale leaves with your choice of herbs and spices and bake for 15 to 25 minutes at 250 degrees.


5.     Roasted chickpeas

a.     Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food

b.     They provide protein, dietary fiber, folate, iron, and phosphorus

c.     Roasting them with a mix of spices turns them savory

d.     Rinse a can of garbanzo beans (to eliminate some of the sodium), toss them in oil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes

e.     Then toss with a mix of any low- or no-salt seasonings of your choice.

f.      Try curry powder, paprika, cumin, or chili powder for a spicy kick.