Salt, commonly known as sodium chloride, is made up of around 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It is used to flavour food and as a binder and stabiliser. It’s also a food preservative, because germs can’t survive in a salty environment. A tiny amount of sodium is required by the human body to carry nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain adequate water and mineral balance. For these critical tasks, we require approximately 500 mg of sodium every day. However, consuming too much salt can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also induce calcium loss, with part of it coming from bone.
High blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke can all be caused by eating too much sodium.
The good news is that lowering your sodium intake can help you maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure.
Use these suggestions to help you cut down on sodium in your diet. Make only one or two changes at a time.
Be aware of your sodium intake.
Consult your doctor to determine how much sodium is safe for you. Adults and teenagers aged 14 and up should limit their salt intake to no more than 2,300 mg (milligrammes) per day, while children aged 9 to 14 should limit their sodium intake to no more than 1,800 mg per day.
Children aged 4 to 8 should consume no more than 1,500 mg of salt per day, while children aged 1 to 3 should have no more than 1,200 mg.
Look for foods that are low in salt.
The majority of the sodium we consume does not come from salt shakers. Sodium is found in practically all processed and prepared meals we buy, including bread and tortillas, which don’t taste salty.
When shopping, try to avoid high-sodium foods or look for low-sodium alternatives.
The kidneys struggle to keep up with excess salt in the blood in most persons. As salt builds up in the body, the body holds on to water to dilute it. This increases the volume of blood in the bloodstream as well as the amount of fluid around the cells. Increased blood volume means the heart has to work harder and puts more strain on the blood vessels. The added labour and pressure can cause blood arteries to stiffen over time, resulting in high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It also has the potential to cause heart failure. There is some evidence that excessive salt can harm the heart, aorta, and kidneys without raising blood pressure, and that it may also be harmful to bones.
Hope this helps!