Our health depends on our eating habits. We have always heard that “Health is Wealth” but only a few of us understand the meaning of this proverb. Our modern lifestyles keep us occupied and leave us with little or not time to pay attention to what we eat to take care of preparing meals. We often eat a random meals here and there to fill our stomachs on the go without thinking about the long-term consequences of our hasty meal choices. Also, some of us who are nurses and police officers work long shifts and do not have time to schedule meals at regular intervals. We may skip breakfast on the way to work or grab a quick coffee and egg Mc Muffin at a McDonalds drive-thru because it is convenient. Sometimes we may think we are eating healthy items because they don’t taste too salty of sweet without actually knowing the detailed nutritional analysis and the nitty-gritties of what we’re eating and what it is doing to our bodies.
Hidden salt and sugar in processed food
Most of us who are busy do not stop and read nutrition labels and assume that whatever we are consuming does not have too much sugar and too much salt because it doesn’t taste too sweet or salty. However, we underestimate the amount of these harmful additives our foods contain because their hidden flavors have been masked by other ingredients in their manufacturing process. Salt acts as a preservative and is thus contained is many canned foods such as canned vegetables, crackers, preserved meats, and deli salads. Many sweet and savory manufactured food items such as pretzels, soft drinks, and fruit yogurts also contain a fair amount of sugar. Someone might think that they are making a healthy food choice by selecting a strawberry yogurt from the dairy shelf of a grocery story because it contains fruit and calcium; however, they do not realize how many grams of sugar the strawberry preserve component of the yogurt has. Thus, people who do not read food labels carefully might be deluding themselves about that fact that they are eating well.
Benefits of cutting down on salt and sugar
A significant reduction our salt and sugar intake will benefit us tremendously in the long run. For one thing, we if select the food we consume carefully, we might lose weight. Sugar contains a lot of calories and an excessive consumption of it over a long period of time might lead us to developing diabetes or blood sugar imbalances and weight gain. Sodium, an additive that brings out the flavor of other ingredients, has been known to cause the inflammation of arteries which is why individuals who suffer from high blood pressure are asked to reduce their intake of salt. On the flip side, salt and sugar give our food a lot of flavor so if we cut them out of our diets or take in smaller quantities, our food might not taste good so what flavor enhancers do we add to our food instead?
Alternatives to salt and sugar
Lemon juice, garlic, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, coriander, and nutritional yeast can be used instead of salt to add a lot of flavor to food. In addition to improving the taste of our dishes, certain ingredients such as ginger and balsamic vinegar also have healthful properties. Ginger and balsamic vinegar lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and treat hypertension. Both honey, agave syrup, and natural fruit juice can be used as healthier sweetening alternatives instead of refined sugar.