The media changes its stories from one season to the other. A few years ago, tea was not good to drink due to its caffeine content. Now it is good due to its high antioxidant content. Ginko biloba was the potential cure for memory loss but now we find it also has side effects like increased bleeding and heart palpitations. What about salt?
How Salt Affects Your Body
Salt is a compound made of two elements, sodium and chloride. The kidneys regulate the amount of sodium in our bodies. When sodium is low, the kidneys hold onto it. When there is too much, the kidneys filter it out in the urine.
Naturally, sodium attracts water to itself. So, if there is too much sodium in our bodies, we begin to retain excess fluid which increases blood volume. This makes the heart work harder and increases pressure in the arteries and the organs at the end of those arteries like the heart, liver, or kidneys. High blood pressure (hypertension) develops and damages the arteries. Over time, if this process continues, we may develop congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease, edema (swelling) and eye disease ( watch here ). So, our bodies lose the ability to regulate sodium.
Purpose of Salt and Quantities Needed in Our Diet
Don’t forget, salt is important for us. Just like cholesterol, we are not able to survive without it. Our bodies need sodium to help transmit nerve impulses, maintain fluid balance and help with relaxation and contraction of muscles.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting salt intake to less than 6 grams per day (2,300 mg of sodium). People older than 50, blacks or those with certain health conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease) may be more sensitive to sodium’s effects. Therefore those individuals will need to consume less than the recommended dose.
We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.