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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Am I getting enough salt?

I never add salt to anything and have cut out almost completely any processed and refined foods. I do use the odd tin of tomatoes in my home made soup though and sometimes use gravy granules. I wondered if I am getting enough salt. I know the body needs a certain amount. I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I rarely eat carbohydrates, is this OK? My diet is mainly fish, lots of fresh and boiled vegetables, grilled salmon, chicken breasts and tinned pilchards. I am trying to eat as healthily as possible.

A.

Our expert says...

Hi.

You are right that our bodies do need a certain amount of sodium (the mineral found in salt, which is sodium chloride) to function efficiently. But for optimal health this needs to be in balance with other minerals too. Most people are becoming more aware that a high sodium and low potassium diet can cause high blood pressure, but it can also increase the risk of many other illnesses too.

Nature provides adequate sodium levels in the natural food that we eat. As you are eating a diet based on unrefined foods with lots of fresh vegetables, you will be getting a good mixture of vitamins and minerals, including sodium. You are certainly doing well in your quest to eat healthily!

I am, however, a little concerned about the lack of carbohydrate in your diet. The guidelines for a healthy diet are that approximately half our calories should come from carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta or brown rice. Carbohydrates are needed by our body to produce glucose, which is then used by every cell to perform essential functions. When carbohydrate is not included in the diet, like on the Atkins diet, the body is forced to produce glucose from unnatural pathways, which can place a strain on the different organs and systems in the body. This is why this type of diet produces noticeable side-effects, such as bad breath, makes some people feel unwell and is not recommended in the long term. Your body is trying to tell you it is not happy!

So, if you want to make your diet healthier, I recommend you start to incorporate some complex carbohydrates into your diet on a regular basis, preferably with each meal. As long as you include them in your food diary, and stay within your target, this will not cause you to gain weight. But you may notice some changes ? you may feel better, have more energy and sleep better! Give it a go and see!

Disclaimer
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