Are you diabetic? Kick the salt and not only the sugar!

world diabetes day

The world is a slightly more challenging place for the diabetics than the non diabetic people. Diabetes is a getaway to a host of other diseases. It’s best to label it as a disorder that basically destroys your entire bodily function, if not kept under control. While it’s dangerous to have foods rich in sugar, starch and carbohydrates which will affect the amount of glucose released into the blood stream, it is also nonetheless important to know the adverse effects of salt.

Salt is a mineral and it performs many important functions in our bodies. However it does not have an effect on blood sugar. But having too much sodium can raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is very common in diabetes type II, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  Common table salt is 40% sodium, which is important to maintain the fluid balance in the body.  High dietary salt intake may have a role in higher mortality rates according to a study in cardiology.

It is estimated that about 80% of the sodium we consume is from packaged and processed foods. Food and beverage companies are coming out with lower sodium content processed foods but not much has been achieved on this front. Everyone is focused on keeping the sugar in check in Diabetes, and although a control on salt is not emphasized but it should be reduced as well. Both excess sugar and salt are harmful for the cardiovascular system. Both cause thickening of blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

Cutting on table salt only is not the solution. You may be on a high sodium content diet without even realizing it.

  • Chips, crackers and pretzels are literally swimming in salt.
  • Fancy foods like Bagels, doughnuts, breads and baked foods like cakes are heavy on sugar and carbohydrates. But did you know that they use sodium as a preservative? And here we are not talking about any other salt used during baking!
  • Cereals: breakfast cereals like cornflakes, wheat flakes, muesli are all packaged with a high content of sodium. It’s definitely not a healthy way to kick start your day. An alternative would be oatmeal with fresh fruits and milk.
  • Cottage cheese and most processed dairy products: about a single cup of serving of cottage cheese has about 1000mg of sodium, which is about 40% of the salt recommended for patients with high blood pressure, thereby indirectly for diabetic people as well.
  • Sauces and salad dressings: the reason why sauces like chipotle, thousand island, barbecue and others make our salads and sandwiches tasty is because they are high in sodium. So while apparently subs and sandwiches may be branded as healthy, they actually are not!
  • Soups: nothing is unhealthier than canned and ready to make soups bought from supermarket shelves. Most of the things advertised to consumers as healthy are exactly the opposite. The market variants contain more than 50% of sodium recommended for daily intake. Soups are comfort food in illness and a filling supper for the winters, which is why you should never buy it and rather make it at home from the scratch!
  • Condiments, frozen meals, packed juices, sliced meats, cold cuts and hotdogs, snacks and namkeens, salted nuts and seeds, pickled olives and jalapenos all these seemingly cute nibbles that have made a way into our sedentary lifestyles are basically slow poisons.

The risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes are potentially double in diabetic people. It is of utmost importance that they choose a healthy life style with exercise and by changing their food habits. The following list will give you an idea about what to include in your diet.

Sodium free (almost)

Very low sodium Low sodium
Apple Mushrooms Artichoke
Asparagus Cabbage Bell peppers
Avocado Grapes Broccoli
Green beans Tofu Carrot
Eggplant Tomatoes Celery
Garlic Lentils Radish
Okra

 

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