Salt plays an important part in your body by helping maintain a proper balance of fluid. It’s also a useful preservative in food, but it shouldn’t be consumed in excess. The Food and Drug Administration recommends up to 1,500 milligrams per day, but eating more than 2,300 in a day can be detrimental to your health.
Sodium in the body
Table salt, also known as sodium chloride, is composed of 40 percent sodium. It’s also found in many common foods. It’s used in the body to contract muscles and produce impulses with your nerves. Sodium attracts water which is used to regulate how much is in your tissues, organs, and kidneys. Excess sodium causes your kidneys to produce more urine to remove it. Too much sodium stresses your kidneys and can lead to other health concerns.
High blood pressure
Your blood pressure is a measurement of how much stress your blood places on the walls of your arteries. It also measures the stress while your heart is relaxing between beats. It’s also impacted by how much blood is circulating in your system. Excess salt in your diet increases the volume of blood in your body because it retains excess water. Blood pressure rises as a result and makes your heart work harder. This also increases your risk of blood clots and vascular weakness or scarring.
Kidney stones form when certain substances in urine such as oxalate, calcium, or phosphorous are more concentrated than your body can handle. A diet with too much salt causes your kidneys to put more calcium in the urine, which combines with the phosphorous and oxalate to form stones. The risk increases with the more salt you consume. Stones can not only be painful, but ones that are too large may require surgery to remove if you can’t pass them naturally.
Complications of diabetes include heart attack and stroke, which are associated with high sodium consumption. The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day and less than that if you have high blood pressure to get it under control. Also, did you know that March 27th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day?
Cutting back on sodium
You might be surprised by how much sodium is in your food if you don’t check food labels diligently. Look for unprocessed foods because processed food with preservatives can have excessive sodium. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables, dried beans, whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, unsalted nuts, and fresh or frozen meat or poultry. Foods that contain an excess of sodium included frozen meats, cheeses, canned vegetables or beans, processed or canned meats, deli meats, and condiments including dressings, marinades, and spaghetti sauce. Opt for low-sodium alternatives if available and don’t forget to rinse your canned vegetables and beans to cut back on salt intake. Making small changes in your diet can help cut your sodium consumption, improve your overall health, and reduce your risk for these common health conditions commonly associated with high sodium consumption.