a "McDonald's large chocolate shake contains the same level of sodium as their large fries?" Say What?!
Did you know that POTASSIUM is vital for LIFE??
Well it is, as Potassium is an electrolyte, which means it is involved in conducting electrical charges in the body. By our bodies conducting electrical chargers is how we can maintain blood levels, and maintaining the right blood levels is critical to life.
Potassium is available in many fruits and vegetables so it can easy to obtain the right amount if we are eating our fruits and vegetables each day
SADLY MANY ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH VEGETABLES
Sodium and Potassium exist in a partnership. When Sodium is consumed in excess, it can affect the balance.
WE EAT TOO MUCH SODIUM
An article by Choice titled "Salty Shock" outlined how Australian's consumed 10 times the RDI for sodium. The article compared the salt levels in many take - away foods, pointing out that the salad is not always healthier.
"The National Heart Foundation compared salty salads with McDonald's burgers, with the following shocking results:
The unhealthiest was Coffee Club’s caesar salad with chicken; it contained double the salt in a McDonald's quarter-pounder with a whopping 2571mg of sodium and saturated fat at a high 12g.
Sumo Salad’s grilled chicken caesar salad has more sodium, more fat and more salt than a McDonald’s cheeseburger, with the total amount of sodium at 2109mg and 7.2g of saturated fat.
The third unhealthiest was Sumo Salad’s grilled chicken low GI salad, which had more salt and fat than a Big Mac, with 1979mg of sodium and a high saturated fat level of 11g."
At the end of the article, they also mention that the "McDonald's large chocolate shake which contains the same level of sodium as a large serving of fries".
Most Australians consume 3000 to 4000mgs of sodium per day, yet the recommendations are to have between 400 to 800mgs a day, and an absolute maximum of 2,300mgs, which is just a little more than a teaspoon.
ITS NOT JUST THE SALT SHAKER
Many of us have stopped using the salt shaker on a regular basis, but we can still be consuming too much without knowing that we are. Sodium is present in a lot of foods, like breads, cereals, wraps... even milk.
Remember there is a role of sodium in the body, so it is not about NO SALT, it is about balance. Eating more fresh produce (fruits/vegetables/nuts) each day rather than relying on processed foods (ie too much prepackaged soups/sauces/ breads/ cereals etc) will help to maintain the bodies balance.
Breakfast - could be oats (oats are one of the lowest sodium "cereals"). Lunch and Dinner added those vegetables - hot or cold. Snacks - include some fruit, yogurts and nuts. Your day can come together easy when its organised.
MY FAVORITE VEGETABLE SOUP
Vegetable soups are a great way of adding in more Potassium. Perfect winters lunch or dinner. Suitable to be frozen.
2 tsps rice bran oil
½ head of celery, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, washed and finely sliced
Add your flavour ie 1 clove garlic crushed and 1 inch ginger crushed or garlic and 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 cups of salt reduced vegetable or chicken stock (I love Massells Salt Reduced stocks)
3 cups of water
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes
1/2 a butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 broccoli, cut into florets and stem sliced up
Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, leek, celery and if you are adding garlic/ginger/chilli/parsley and sauté over a low heat until soft (for about 5 mins)
Add the stock, water, tomatoes, carrot and pumpkin. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins. Add in broccoli and celery leaves. Simmer for further 10 mins.
If wanting to add meat, adding cooked shredded chicken breast works well
If you like lentils, adding pearl barley is really nice. Pearl Barley is high in soluble and insoluble fibre which means it provides the body with important nutrients that can help lower cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar levels. It is also beneficial to help maintain bowel function (I rinse the pearly barley before using and just boil separately as it soaks up water while cooking).