We all know salt enhances the flavor of food, but too much sodium... well that is a different story all together. If you excessively salt your food, please read this post to learn some of the danger of sodium.
Sodium in small amounts is definitely essential since it:
- Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
- Helps transmit nerve impulses
- Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles
Your kidneys help to regulate the sodium in your body. If levels are too low, your kidneys conserve sodium, and if levels are high, the sodium gets excreted in your urine. However, when your kidneys can't keep up with your sodium intake, the extra sodium starts to build up in your blood. Since sodium holds water, your blood volume increases, making it harder for your heart to move blood through your blood vessels. This in turn increases pressure in your arteries (high blood pressure), which can cause heart failure. That's an attention getter isn't it?
Do you know how much sodium is too much? To find out
The RDI of salt is no more than 6 grams a day, which is about 2,300 mg or 1 teaspoon. I'm not referring to the salt you add to your food, I'm talking about the total amount of salt per day.
Fit's Tip #1: Have your blood pressure checked. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (systolic/diastolic) or less. When both numbers start to go way up, you've got high blood pressure.
Fit's Tip #2: If you're looking to reduce your salt intake, be wary of high-sodium foods like processed foods - chips, crackers, canned soups, and frozen meals often contain more sodium than you think. Also look out for lunch meats, bacon, condiments, and fast foods as these items often have an insane amount of sodium. Choose salt-free variations of the foods you love, and try to avoid adding salt to your food.
Fit's Tip #3: Exercising regularly, losing extra weight, and eating a healthy, low-sodium diet are great ways to get your blood pressure under control. If you've done all this and your blood pressure is still high, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower it.