Sodium…is it good for your health or bad for you?
No, that wasn’t a typo. Both are absolutely true! But how can that be?
We’re going to break down the facts about salt for you in this episode, including simple ways to avoid blood vessel damage and decrease your blood pressure too!
These are the plant based tips and strategies you need to prevent and even reverse high blood pressure and heart disease so you can live life to the fullest.
We are truly honored to be a part of your journey to health, Sunshine! Welcome to Plant based joy … Welcome to Power on Plants! 🎉
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Hello, Sunshine. Today, we're talking about salt. When it comes to your health, is it good? Or is it bad for you? Yes! Now, that may sound a little crazy, but I really did answer the question, because it is good... and it's bad. But what makes it good or bad? We're gonna be talking about all that today on this episode of Power On Plants. Hey there, Sunshine. Welcome to the Power On Plants Podcast. We're your host, Jarrod and Anita Roussel, and we're absolutely head over heels for whole plant foods, and helping you navigate this incredible plant based journey. That's because our lives have been completely changed by plant based goodness. We used to struggle every day with excess pounds and low energy, vascular disease, joint pain and lack of sleep, just to name a few. And even though we're medical professionals, we still weren't getting practical answers that actually worked. So we dug into the research, we started living what we learned, and now we both have our lives back. And that's what we want for you too. The truth is you can do this, and it's not hard. You just need a way that will bring real and lasting change. And that path, it has to be simple and enjoyable. And, it's got to be delicious too. So are you ready to live your life to the fullest, then you're in the right place, because living without limits. That's what Power On Plants is all about. So pull up your chair, grab a matcha latte, and let's get started. Hello, Sunshine. Welcome back to this episode, we're on episode number 152. Can you believe that? How in the world?Jarrod:
I know. Time's flying.Anita:
Time is flying. And if this is your first time visiting with us, just consider yourself a part of the family, pull up a chair, and hang out with us for a while, because we are breaking down another really important health topic for you and making it simple. And, we want it to be enjoyable and delicious for you, too. So we're going to be sharing some tasty tips as well. But the first thing that needs to be addressed here is... is salt really the big, bad, ugly guy it's been made out to be? What we want you to understand is it is absolutely required. Sodium is necessary. You have to have it to live. So is it all bad? No, you need it. You have to have it to live. But what makes it bad. Well, what makes it bad is the fact that it's being added to most everything you eat. It's in there when you don't even know it's in there. So the way that you can help yourself is by learning how to decrease it, so you don't get too much, because most of us are walking around on a daily basis, eating way too much. And that's what causes damage.Jarrod:
Now, you may be thinking, "well, surely if it's in the food, I would taste it." Not necessarily.Anita:
Especially with processed foods, they put so much in there. And if you've been eating a lot of processed foods for a long time, you may not be as sensitive to it. So for someone else that hasn't been eating it for a long time, it may taste very, very salty. Whereas to you just may seemAnita:
Right, because the truth is you develop a tolerance to normal. it. And the more you eat, the less you taste it. And so you have to add more and more and more over time. Whereas if you want to cut back on it, one of the easiest ways to do that is to decrease it by just eating a little bit less each time. If you're adding it at the table every time, add less than you normally would just a little bit and then a little bit less and a little bit less, because your taste buds adjust to how much are you using. And then all of a sudden, you know, week, two weeks, three weeks down the road, you're gonna taste it so much stronger anyway, you won't need so much. Why is this important? Because getting too much causes damage. I mentioned that a few minutes ago, but Jarrod's gonna go into what exactly happens with that just to give you an overall idea of why this really matters.Jarrod:
Well, the first thing that you will typically hear from your medical provider is that too much salt will raise your blood pressure. Now, why does it do that? Well, when you eat it, you absorb it into your blood vessels. And your body likes balance. So if you have too much sodium, your body will absorb more water into your blood vessels, because it likes it to be at a very specific concentration.Anita:
And the extra fluid would raise your blood pressure.Jarrod:
It raises the pressure. Now, if you have young arteriesAnita:
More rigid. and they're pliable, you may not notice that as much. But as time goes on, if there's damage to your vessels, and like AnitaJarrod:
They're more rigid and that pressure goes up. If you said we're going to talk about that in a moment, then your vessels aren't as pliable; they're more stiff. think of a garden hose, one that's brand new, and you stop the water. You'll see how it stretches a little bit from the water pressure. But if it'sAnita:
If you stop the water, it stretches?Jarrod:
Well yes, if you let go of the handle, let's say, So... I'm sorry. I'm thinking of a garden hose where you have a sprayer on the end.Anita:
That makes so much sense. Okay.Jarrod:
Okay, I'm sorry. I'm visualizing it in my head. I've just I gotta take you on a visual journey with me. So, you've got the garden hose turned on. You have a hose sprayer on the end. When you let that go, the pressure rises. And you may notice with a brand new hose, how it stretches a little bit. Then when you squeeze the handle, it'll kind of shrink. Well, that's what's happening to your arteries actually, is that they have muscles. And every time your heart beats, those arteries stretch a little bit, but then they squeeze to keep that blood flowing more evenly. Now, if you've ever left a garden hose out in the sun, and you've had it a number of years and starts drying out and starts feeling kind of stiff and rigid. You're trying to roll it up, but you just can't quite do it. It fights you. Well, when you have damage with your arteries, the same thing happens. They get stiff and that pressure gets higher. But what they have found is that not only does salt raise your blood pressure when you eat too much of it, but it also causes damage in a manner independent of blood pressure. And that is huge. It's huge. Because you may be saying, "Well, I'm 25. I don't have blood pressure issues, so I can eat as much salt as I want." Well, that's not true. There is damage that still goes on. And what happens is the salt will cause oxidative stress, it causes damage. Oxidative stress is just kind of a fancy way of saying it's getting in there and it's causing free radicals. And then the vessels get stiff. But what they have found specifically,Anita:
So you're saying it causes damage to the vessel lining.Jarrod:
It causes damage to the vessel lining, even if you aren't experiencingAnita:
high blood pressure from that. Now, one time may not seemAnita:
Cumulative damage over time. like that big of a deal. And it's probably not. But when you do it day after day, new product after product that you introduce into your diet that's processed. It's just more and more and more and it's constant...Jarrod:
And so the problem is, is we don't realize where we're getting it or even that we're eating much. Well, I don't have much salt at the table. Well, some of us do. But... and I'm not saying I do anymore. I probably did at one point. But the thing is, I was getting so much in the products, in the process foods, in the pre packaged items that I was buying, I didn't even realize it was there. I never thought about I have a choice. I can read the label. I can look at how much sodium is in this one versus that one, and I can buy that one because it has less. I can choose to vote with my dollar, not only to vote to get more products that are low salt, or that are healthy for me, but I'm also voting for my health by the decision I'm making, right. And so you want to choose the lower sodium products, because you can always add a little bit more at the table, which odds are you're probably going to do, a lot of people do that. But, you can control that amount. And the truth is, if you add it on top of your food, you're gonna taste it better than if it's cooked in there.Jarrod:
Right, because it'll be on the surface, it'll touch your tongue, and you'll experience that instead of it working its way into whatever the food is, where you may or may not really notice it all that much.Anita:
Right, so it's best if you're the cook in your family, then you want to add less to the meal, because odds are people at your table are going to be adding more anyway, regardless of how much is in it. So it's better for your health and for their health if you salt less, and let them salt a little bit at the table. And then you follow that rule of just adding a little bit less than you normally would, and then a little bit less than you normally would. And over time, your taste buds adjust and then you taste it more. And so you're not getting that cumulative damage. You stop the damage from happening in its tracks, because you're now eating less and less and less. But one of the ways is you don't add it to your food, or you don't add as much to your food. You learn different things to add to your food that replace the salt, like the herbs and the spices and seasonings, particularly vinegar. Vinegars, and there's so many good ones, are a great way to do this; apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar. And then think about...Jarrod:
That's one of our favorites.Anita:
Oh, we love it. And you think about citrus like lemon juice and lime juice. All those things are great replacements for salt. Something you may not think about is low sodium, you're buying low sodium, but does low sodium really mean lower sodium or does it just mean lowER sodium because you can buy Tamari or soy sauce that's regular. It has a crap ton of sodium.Jarrod:
Well, it's about 900 milligrams per serving.Anita:
It's a ton of sodium.Jarrod:
It's a lot.Anita:
So when you go to...Jarrod:
A normal daily dosage would be about 2400 milligrams just to give you some comparison.Anita:
Okay, and then if you go to low sodium soy sauce or Tamari, it's lower. But trust me when I say, it's is not low, it is super, super salty.Jarrod:
It's around 700. So yes, it is lower, and it's better than. And, that's what we choose to use when we need to use it.Anita:
But you can add less... but you can buy that, just realize you're selling a really high salt product. So you want to sprinkle very small amounts. You don't want to liberally put... like if you make a stir fry, you don't want to put a half cup to a cup of tamari in it, because that's just gonna cause problems. You want to put some vinegar in there. Vinegar is great in stir fry. It gives this bite to it, and you don't don't add a ton, or it's just gonna taste like vinegar. But if you add just a little bit, like a teaspoon or two, maybe even up to a tablespoon, if you're cooking for a family of six like us. We cook such large amounts, we might use a tablespoon of vinegar or two, but taste it as you go so you don't add too much. And you'll find that it just needs less salt, because you've got these herbs and spices and these tasty things that just make up for the flavor loss, right?Jarrod:
Yes, exactly. And that's exactly what I was thinking is that it gives it a stronger flavor gives a flavor punch. Whereas before I love flavor punches. I'm all about it.Anita:
Right, Flavor punches, flavor profiles, anything with flavors, she's onJarrod:
You are just doing yourself a disservice. top of it. But we're used to having that strong salty flavor. So when you subtract that you want to put something else inAnita:
Yeah, and you're in for such a wonderful surprise when its place. So using liberal amounts of herbs, using the vinegars and just really... I mean, just experiment, discover, because there's so much out there. If you're just used to just having kind of plain food and just throwing a bunch of salt on it... you start discovering new herbs and spices. If you only use dried, start using some fresh. If you only use fresh, use some dried. They taste different. They have different nutritional values. It's amazing. Some of the dried ones are really, really good as well. So just experiment, change things up a little bit. It's fun, it'll make it more flavorful. And you'll discover some things you've never tried before. It's really a great way to get those flavors in there. But to decrease your salt at the same time. Again, this is really important to do. I'm thinking about other things like it's just hiding in so many products. Read your label. If you've listened for long enough, you hear us say this over and over again. This is actually one of my soapbox topics. Read the label, because... not just the label on the front, turn that over read that ingredients label. I'm not talking about just grams of this and and like macros and micros, and all these little things that people get hung up on or worried about Yes, the grams of salt or the amount of salt in it is important. Look at that and compare product to product, gram to gram. But make sure it's the same serving size they're also quoting.Jarrod:
Yes, because they manipulate that. One product may say one teaspoon and another product may say a tablespoon.Anita:
So sometimes numbers can be manipulated. And you made a great point, don't go by what's on the front of the label. Because I say all the time that's the billboard that's where they're advertising. So even the Tamari that we get it says lower sodium,Anita:
But we know it's not like sodium, right?Jarrod:
Exactly. It's not low. So when you turn around you see okay, yes, it is lower, but it's still a lot. So with sodium, the typical average adult, the most you'd want to guess 2400 milligrams. Now should you be scared to death of sodium? No, like Anita said, you need it, your body requires it.Anita:
You have to have it, the problem is added to everything, everything. So you look at the back of the product. Now if it has the label, you're gonna look at it and see salt in the ingredients list. But if you have the option between beans, like a can of beans that has regular salt, you have a low sodium and you have no sodium- buy the no sodium. Don't just convince yourself oh, it has no salt is going to have less flavor. You can add the herbs and spices. You can add the sauces and toppings and different things. And you can add a little sprinkle of salt, but you actually can control and look at how much you're putting in there. And it really will open your eyes to how much seasoning and how much salt is really going in there. And how much control you have over it.Jarrod:
Well, one other point I want to make is that you many times will see a certain amount of sodium that's in the food. Don't go by just that because in natural products, I mean any whole produce. Those are naturally going to have sodium in them. So you're also going to look to see is it on the ingredients list? Is there any added sodium? So if you have a pack of peas, and it says just peas and you look and you see it's got a certain amount of sodium, that's okay. That's what's naturally in the product. That's what came out of the ground. You need it for healthy muscle function, nerve function, your heart. Again, your body requires it but your body's very good at retaining sodium. I mean it will conserve some of it. It's also good at getting rid of extra to a point, you don't want to test it out. You don't want to go crazy. But you do need some. And now, again, I don't want you to be scared because what you naturally get from foods will not affect your blood vessels the same way as adding it. In the studies, they found people that just ate a very low sodium or I should say, low added sodium diet, they didn't have the same problems. Like with added sodium and reducing it, you were talking earlier, Anita about reducing it, they found that even reducing by a quarter or a half teaspoon a day made a big difference. And it made a difference within a couple of days.Anita:
These are the things you want to do. But how simple would it be, if you could start looking at the labels, decrease the amount that you're buying and putting into your body and your to your children's bodies, knowing that it's cumulative. You're giving them a wonderful healthy start. Your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, your spouse, okay, all these things are going to make a huge difference over time for your family and for you, just in how you can live life. That's what this is all about. If you don't have high blood pressure, you don't have to be on the high blood pressure medications. If you're not on the high blood pressure medications, you don't have all the bad side effects that come with those. And you can live life to the fullest, which is why we are so passionate about you learning these things. We have love sharing this time with you again today. Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your journey. We're truly honored to know you, to hear from you in our emails. We have been getting some great emails lately. Make yours one of those. We want to hear your story how this podcast is affecting your life. And as you write that story to us and email it, just take out a little bit of it. Just copy it out and paste it into a review for us. We could really use some written reviews so that more people learn about this podcast because this information is life changing. That's why we're so passionate about it. That's why we come to you every week. We are thrilled about all the changes that you're getting. Stay on course, sister, one thing at a time, one change at a time and your life is going to look different. We are looking forward to seeing you next week. Have a great one.