Today we are experiencing many health epidemics, such as diabetes and obesity. Both these health conditions are on the rise. Obesity and chronic diseases are now at critical levels because of the overconsumption of salt and sugar. Due to these different types of health crises, many people are starting to become more aware of the impact their types of food choices are making on their health.

The types of foods you eat affect your health, emotions, and performance. One healthy nutrition tip not to ignore is to eat foods that contain less sugar and salt. Processed foods are loaded with salt and sugar to give them a longer shelf life and enhance the food flavor.

They also cause food addictions, which is why you want more of them. Unfortunately, processed foods comprise about eighty percent of many individuals’ food intake. That’s quite alarming!

Why You Need to Consume Less Salt and Sugar

Eating too many sugary or salty foods during your childhood can influence your taste preferences as an adult. Your taste buds become accustomed to this type of diet, which is not healthy. It can develop into many health conditions, such as high cholesterol, fatty liver, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, water retention, and high blood pressure. These can lead to congestive heart failure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.

Developing and maintaining a healthy diet is vital to avoid health issues.

Ways to Reduce Salt and Sugar in Your Diet

If you know you eat too many processed, sugar-laden and salt-laden foods, here are some ways you can help lessen your salt and sugar intake.

Know How Much is Healthy – Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily consumption of salt for children is 1,500mg to 1,900mg. This is equivalent to ¼ to ¾ teaspoon. While the ideal daily intake for teens and adults is 2,300mg or 1 teaspoon only. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease should consume 1,500mg or less of salt per day.

Avoiding salt altogether is not advisable because we need a sufficient amount of salt for cell, muscle, and nerve function. It is also an essential electrolyte for a child’s health and development, and in regulating blood pressure and volume. As for sugar, there are natural sugars in fruit, so if you need a sugar hit, eat a piece of fruit. It is much better to go without the teaspoons of sugar in your tea or coffee or your bowl of ice cream.

According to health experts, sugar and salt act like narcotics because of the way they impact our brain’s reward center. To live longer and healthier, retrain your palate and try not to consume foods that contain excessive amounts.

Check the Nutrition Labels on Packaged Foods

Look at the nutrition label and ingredients of foods in bottles, cans, jars, or boxed goods. Check for sugar and salt, also called sodium. How many grams per serving, and how many servings are in the container? Checking the nutrition labels and comparing the same products can help you buy foods and drinks with less sugar and avoid those products high in sodium.

Don’t Buy Foods with Added Sugars or Added Salt

Limit eating foods with ‘added’ sugars. Many products include sugar, but they are mentioned under a specific ingredient. For example, they may include agave nectar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, molasses, and fruit juice concentrates.

Packaged foods high in salt have ingredients labeled as monosodium glutamate, sodium benzoate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, sodium saccharin, and the list goes on. All of them are present in processed foods, such as cured, salted, smoked, and canned fish, meats, and poultry. Examples are anchovies, caviar, cold cuts, ham, sausages, spam, and sardines.

Sodium is also high in canned soups, salad dressings, salted nuts, chips, pretzels, and many pre-packed dinners. Choose products labeled with low sodium or no salt added and drain canned beans and salted tuna to lessen the sodium content.

You can reduce salt intake without sacrificing your food tastes by spicing them up with your favorite herbs and spices. Use black pepper, cayenne, coriander, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric, and add a dash of vinegar, lemon, or lime juice.

Use Condiments in Moderation

Don’t be too liberal when using bottled condiments such as barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and mayonnaise for example. They can cause hypertension and fast weight gain because they are high in sugar and salt.

To maintain a healthy diet replace them with citrus juices, herbs, and spices. You can also prepare homemade condiments that use whole-food ingredients. At least you will know what’s in it!

Avoid Sugary Drinks and Adding Sugar to Your Drinks

Beverages are also a top source of added sugars. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda and some fruit juices that have added sugar. Reduce or stop adding sugar to your tea or coffee. Your taste buds will soon get used to not having any sweetness added. Instead of store-bought flavored water drinks, flavor your water with a slice of lemon or lime, or drink just plain water!

Choose Fresh Foods Over Processed Foods

Eating processed foods is way too easy! They’re convenient and designed to make us crave them all the more. However, we all know they’re not a healthy meal option. If you have healthy diet goals, eat fresh, natural foods, or homemade meals and snacks. If you eat real foods you can control the amount of salt and sugar you digest.

Reducing your salt and sugar intake plays a vital role in having a healthy diet and, as a result, a healthy body free from chronic diseases and obesity. You should not see it as a sacrifice but instead, see it as a beneficial change for the better. Only buy and eat healthy foods. It’s easy once you start!