Anatomy of a sandwich: The hidden salt
Low salt diet helps in the control of blood pressure and in the prevention of its complications like heart attack, heart failure, brain attack (stroke), kidney failure, and eye damage. We should consume less than 2,300 milligrams or less than a teaspoon of salt per day, or even as low as 1,500 mg per day.
Some foods, even if they arenot salty, could actually contain a high amount of sodium. Salt lurks in these foods, called “hidden salt”.
For example, the estimated sodium content of the components of a sandwich: Top slice of bread 200 to 230 mg;
Dressing (example mustard), 120 mg; one leaf of lettuce, 2 mg; one slice of cheese, 310 mg; thin slice of ham/chicken/turkey 130 to 150 mg, adding more slices increases the sodium content; bottom slice of bread, 200 to 230 mg.
A sandwich can thus be a source of as much as 1,000 mg of sodium. Add to this the sodium content of other meals or food we take infor a day. How about an average burger with a single patty? Its estimated sodium content is 378 to 400 mg.
We are encouraged to avoid these foods that are known to have high sodium content: breads, rolls, bagels, flour tortillas, and wraps; cold cuts and cured meats; pizza; poultry and other meats that have been injected or preserved with salt; pre-packed soup; and sandwiches.
“Other salts” and salt alternatives
Garlic and celery salt are made mainly of table, rock, or sea salt combined with small amounts of garlic or celery. The main component is still sodium chloride.
Potassium salt is a combination of sodium and potassium chloride. The sodium content is 70 percent lower than that of table salt. It can be used like ordinary table salt but can have metallic taste. Also it has to be used with caution by patients with kidney disease and diabetes mellitus because their body may not be able to adequately excrete the excess potassium and develop heart complication like arrhythmia.
Grey salt or sel gris usually refers to sea salt hand-harvested from the coastal areas of France. It is unrefined and slightly moist. It owes its light gray color from the clay found in salt flats where it is processed. More expensive than table salt. Korean grey salt is drier than sel gris, more affordable, and available in Asian markets.
Pink salt gets its color from minerals bound inside the salt crystals or from salt-loving bacteria that produce red carotenoid pigments. Himalayan and Peruvian pink salts are mined from salt deposits in mountains. Australian Murray River pink salt is from an underground aquifer near Mildura, Victoria, Australia- salt solution is pumped to the surface, water content is evaporated through sun-drying then mechanically. The salt has uniform flakes.
Red salt or Hawaiian Alaea salt harvested from the Island of Kauai takes its color from iron oxide-rich volcanic clay. Used only as a finishing salt in gourmet cooking
Persian blue salt from Iran is natural rock salt dotted with crystals that turned blue after they have been highly compressed.
Kala Namak or black salt or sanchal mined in Central is unrefined volcanic table salt with sulphuric flavor. It turns pink when ground.
Smoked salts take their flavor from the type of wood used, like oakwood, cherry, or elm. Korean took eom is made by roasting sea salt in bamboo cylinders plugged with yellow mud.
Read food labels because knowing the sodium content will guide you in choosing foods with lower sodium content. Colored salts may add flavor but the main component is still sodium chloride.
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