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How to reduce your salt intake to lose belly fat


Besides contributing to belly fat, a high sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, hypertension and even cardiovascular disease. Your body needs some salt to be healthy, but the salt found in natural unprocessed foods is sufficient.

Most South Africans eat twice or three times the healthy daily intake of salt. If you are used to a diet that is high in salt, implement changes gradually. Reducing your salt intake a little each day will go a long way towards controlling belly fat and, at the same time, will improve your general health.

1. Avoid processed and fast foods

Processed and fast foods contain salt, not only for flavouring, but also as a preservative. Processed foods include canned soups, processed canned meats, canned vegetables, frozen meals and packet foods.

2. Eat fresh nutritious food to reduce belly fat

  • Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

  • Potassium helps to balance your salt intake and reduce the salt levels in your body. Foods high in potassium include apricots, avocado, bananas, milk, spanspek, winter melon, kiwi fruit, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes.

  • Fresh fish is always preferable, but as an alternative choose canned fish packed in water, not brine.

3. Check your labels

If you’re unable to manage without consuming processed, frozen, packaged and canned foods, then at least check your labels to assess the sodium levels.

4. Request salt-free meals

When eating out, ask that your meals be prepared without salt or any other commercial seasonings or dressings.

5. Experiment with natural flavourings instead of salt

Herbs and spices will add flavour to your food as an alternative to salt. Do not add salt during the cooking process.

  • Season vegetables with vinegar, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, or butter.

  • Add flavourful vegetables like onions, garlic and peppers.

  • Make your own salad dressings.

6. Avoid ‘foods’ that are naturally high in sodium

These include:

  • Bacon, cheese, cold meats, ham, hot dogs, salsa, vegetable juice and sausage

  • Smoked or salted fish

  • Condiments such as tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce

  • Pickled foods or those processed in brine, including olives, dill pickles and sauerkraut

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