Feb 14, 2013

Healthy Ways to Reduce Sodium in Canned Soup

Sodium is one of those essential minerals required by our body. It's a naturally occurring element present in almost all types of food items that we eat. The health benefits of sodium are pronounced only when you consume it from natural and organic resources. Prepackaged and canned food items have a high concentration of sodium, which might be above the level of recommended dietary intake. Sodium is present in forms of monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium saccharin and sodium benzoate; all these ingredients increase the shelf life of canned products and also enhance the flavor of the item. When you start consuming these food items on a regular basis, then sodium levels get automatically elevated.

One of the most commonly consumed canned food is soup. Although touted to be healthy, canned soups can give rise to several health disorders in the long run, owing to the high sodium content. They also contain artificial preservatives and flavoring agents which are not really healthy for the body. In this regard, it's important for you to know the health hazards caused by the presence of excess sodium in the body.

Harmful Effects of Sodium-rich Canned Soups
  • First of all, people having high blood pressure should avoid such food items because addition of sodium will only aggravate their heart issues.
  • If you are depending on canned soups for controlling calorie intake, then you need to change your diet. You will feel bloated and dehydrated after a certain point of time.
  • In a healthy adult, although water retention is not immediately evident, those with weak kidneys will suffer from mineral and fluid build-up in the body.
From the aforementioned points, you can easily figure out the dangers associated with having sodium-rich canned soups. However, a salt-free diet is not recommended until prescribed by doctors. It's because salt is necessary for maintaining the fluid balance of our body, proper functioning of muscles and nerves, and regulating the blood volume. So how to reduce sodium in canned soup? We will explain this in the next segment.

Reducing Sodium in Canned Soups

Here are some quick tips you can try at home without tampering with the taste of the soup by adding natural ingredients to it. Those who are staunchly following a low-calorie diet can also refer to these tips.
  • Dilute the Soup
    This is probably the best way to reduce the salt concentration. If you are preparing a bowl of soup, then add 2 cups of extra water to it. This way the quantity of soup increases and the sodium per serving also becomes less. The calorie content is minimized and you can meet your weight loss goals.
  • Add Salt-Free Flavoring Herbs
    Edible herbs have the potential to balance the sodium present in soups. Add fresh rosemary, oregano, parsley, parsnip, coriander, basil, saffron, shallots, or lemongrass while cooking the soup. The herbs will absorb sodium and when you add water, the concentration of the salt gets further reduced.
  • Spice it Up
    A concoction of various spices not only adds taste but also improves the nutritional value of canned food products. However, you have to add some water for blending the spices perfectly. Cinnamon, anise, cardamom, cumin, fennel, nutmeg, clove, etc. are some excellent ingredients for spicing up soups.
  • Combine with Vegetables
    Add vegetables to redistribute sodium and make the soup sumptuous. Chop cabbage, carrot, beet, onion, garlic, celery, and ginger. Steam the vegetables or stir-fry these in olive oil. Combine them with the soup while cooking it. It's simply an excellent way to minimize sodium in canned soups.
  • Make it Tangy
    Food items tasting excessively salty can be counterbalanced with lemon juice. So what you can do is, first add a little water to the soup (to increase its quantity) and while it boils, add lemon juice to it. Finely chop tomatoes and add this to the boiling soup. Then sprinkle pepper.
  • Blend with Broth
    Broth being a nutritional supplement, can be added to canned soups. Since your motive is to reduce the sodium content of the soup, you have to restrict yourself from adding table salt even if the soup tastes bland. Mix vegetable or meat broth with the soup and cook for sometime.
  • Absorb with a Potato
    Many are unaware of the sodium-absorbing potential of potato. All you need to do is, dip a peeled potato into the soup bowl while it is boiling. Then cover the bowl with a lid. Wait till the potato becomes soft. It will absorb almost all the sodium from the soup. Remove the potato and then have the soup.
When we are aware of the ill-effects of consuming canned food products, then why not make a conscious effort to eat fresh varieties? Another way to be on the safe side, is to pick up salt-free soups so that you do not require any kind of improvisation while making it. Or else, these tips are always there for you. Stay fit.


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