It might be the salt in your diet! According to new research, reducing your salt intake could halve the amount of time you need to go to the toilet during the night.
Sleep disruption impacts upon the way we feel and behave during the day, and can heighten feelings of stress and irritability. Getting up to use the toilet during the night mainly affects older people, but there is a sizeable number of younger adults who are also cursed with this problem.
NHS recommendations in the UK is to consume no more than 6g of salt daily , but according to government statistics, we average out at 8g per day . This means that a significant number of us are consuming much higher than this. The reason for these guidelines is due to the link that salt in our diet has with our blood pressure. The more salt we eat, the higher our blood pressure can be, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks.
However, new research from Japan suggests that consuming too much salt could also impact upon your need to get up and go to the toilet in the night . The condition, known as nocturia, is often caused by prostate problems in men, and bladder problems for both genders. Or simply drinking too much fluid before bed time.
Now researchers are considering additional factors that were not previously linked.
Most of the salt we eat in our diet is hidden to us, and that can be difficult to control. However, it is still customary for many people to add salt during cooking and then again at the table. Salt enhances the flavour of our food, and cutting back too quickly can make food taste bland and unappetising. Our taste buds have to slowly adapt, a little at a time.
So the best way to reduce salt in your diet is to reduce it little by little. Start by forgoing the salt pot at the dinner table, and then consider slowly reducing the amount you add to your food during cooking.
Meanwhile, the following foods are notoriously high in salt, and so you may wish to consider moderating the consumption of these too:
- Processed meats such as cured or smoked ham, fish, bacon. Sausages, canned meats and fish.
- All cheeses including cottage cheese, cheese spread, buttermilk
- Bread, breadsticks, rolls
- Jarred ready-to-use sauces such as pasta sauces and curry
- Soups (canned, packet or fresh)
- Breakfast cereal
- Canned vegetables, beans (such as baked beans)
- Ketchups, sauces, mustards, mayonnaise
- Cooking condiments such as soy sauce, tamari sauce, oyster sauce etc.
- Pickled vegetables and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, pickled onions, pickled gherkins
- Salted snacks such as salted nuts, crisps, pretzels
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat. He writes for www.veggieandspice.com and www.itsaboutnutrition.com