Salt is one of those things that we mindlessly add to our food. Not only is it sprinkled on top of our dinner, but it’s also in a lot of the processed foods we eat. Salt can have negative effects on your cholesterol if you consume too much, but is it really as bad as they say?
Here’s what you need to know about sodium.
Salt and Your Health
In the right amounts, sodium can be useful and is essential for your health. For example, sodium is used for maintaining the fluids in your body. It is used to help transmit nerve impulses, and contract/relax the muscles.
Sodium can be a sneaky devil when consumed in high quantities. It is easy to consume a lot of sodium if you are not watching for it in your food. The recommended amount per day is 2300mg of sodium. If you are 50 or older, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease 1,500 milligrams or less is the amount recommended by the AHA for ideal heart health. According to The American Heart Association “3,400 milligrams is the amount of sodium that the average American consumes.” Yikes! That’s more than 30% more than the recommended daily amount.
That is the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of salt.
Lets get physiological for a minute. To better explain how the high amount of sodium affect your body I want you to imagine this. The Harvard school of public health states that “kidneys have trouble keeping up with the excess sodium in the bloodstream. As sodium accumulates, the body holds onto water to dilute the sodium. This increases both the amount of fluid surrounding cells and the volume of blood in the bloodstream. Increased blood volume means more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels. Over time, the extra work and pressure can stiffen blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke. It can also lead to heart failure.”
The effects of too much sodium consumption can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease and kidney stones.
3 Ways You Can Watch Your Sodium Consumption
1. Read the labels and see how much sodium is in one serving of your food, and the ingredients for your meal. According to LiveScience.com they recommend you “Look for products less than 140 milligrams per serving, which is considered to be low in sodium.”
2. Do not add more table salt to your food. Your food has enough in it to begin with, no need to pile on more. It is a good idea to just keep the Table salt shaker off the table all together to help eliminate the temptation of dumping more on your food.
3. Eat less packaged goods and eat more fresh foods. Fresh foods have a natural amount in them whereas packaged good are filled with high amount of sodium as it acts as a preservative and gives it a stronger flavor.