Find out if you are loading your mornings (and your body) with salt.
For many people (e.g. me!), breakfast is the ‘it’ meal of the day. Isn’t breakfast just the perfect start of a day? I love my bowl of cereals and my crunchy peanut butter toast! And on good days – like holiday – I will absolutely set my teeth on a big breakfast meal!Oh, who doesn’t love bacon, ham, and cheese? Nevertheless, while having breakfast is a good way to start the day, I’ve been wondering if my lovely breakfast actually benefits my overall health. So I poured out my heart on my love for breakfast with Ms Teo Ni Zhen, Senior Nutritionist for an international R&D consortium, and she told me that apparently, besides giving me all the good vitamins and minerals, my breakfast is possibly shooting up my sodium intake as well. Oh no!
“Salt is often used as a taste enhancer,” told Ms Teo. “Although it is more obvious in savoury food, people often do not realise that they are lurking around in sweet foods as well.”
That is the problem! Sometimes the food with high salt intake does not even taste salty at all. But if you are having a typical breakfast meal like me, you might want to know more of which foods actually give you a sodium boost.
Often, the issue with eating bread for weight loss is the carbohydrate components. But apparently, there is something else you should be aware of, which is sodium. Both white bread and whole grain bread contain a significant amount of sodium, and the key to having bread is to read labels carefully. Just make sure that the bagel you munch is made of 100% whole wheat, or that whole grain (or whole wheat flour) is the first in the ingredient list – suggesting it is the main element contained in the product.
2. Peanut Butter
I love my peanut butter toast! But it seems that peanut butter, no matter how yummy it is, contain lots of salts. A big fan of peanut butter? Look for the unsalted one, or if you don’t mind a change, switch to unsalted almond butter.
3. Processed delights
This one might not be that surprising, right? Processed foods have been avoided by the health conscious and those seeking to lose some pounds. One of the reasons is, of course, because of their high salt content. This is where I am found obviously guilty with my big breakfast set, with those ham, bacon, hash brown, and sausage. Sigh. I have decided to modify my obviously guilty big breakfast with a set of eggs, toast, and baked potatoes. Yums!
Pour it in, pour milk in, and you’re good to go. That’s the beauty of cereals, isn’t it? Just be careful of choosing the cereals for your daily breakfast. Though it contains fibres and various vitamins and minerals, remember that cereals are also processed foods, so some of them do contain a high amount of salt. The key is again to read labels carefully and opt for the ones lower in sodium content. You can also switch over to rolled oats or the yummy muesli with fruit chunks to replace your cereal!
Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but some is also a good source of salt! Salt is included in cheese for the purpose of preventing bacteria growth. Not all cheese is high in sodium content, though. Mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and cream cheese are low in sodium, so you can generously sprinkle or melt them on your toast (yeay!). Do take note that cottage cheese is known for its high sodium content, so be sure to consume it moderately.
Like to grab those yummy, fluffy sponge cakes for breakfast? Surely they are perfect companion for your morning coffee, but beware of sodium bicarbonate that is often used as a leavening agent to make them soft and fluffy. In most cakes, salt is also used to enhance the sweet flavour (yes, salt increases our sensory perception of sweetness!).
Not sure if you have too much sodium in your body? When you have too much sodium, your body will send you signals like bloating from water retention, thirst, and dizziness. Be alert of these signals, perhaps that simple thirst is a sign of you being salt-overloaded! To balance off the sodium level in your body, don’t forget to drink a minimum of 2 litres or 8 glasses of water daily.
Enjoy your breakfast!