Is it true that salt is bad for you? And can a low sodium diet improve your health?
High sodium levels can be damaging, for several different reasons. For many people, cutting back on salt – as our main source of sodium – solves a number of medical conditions. On the other hand, your body needs sodium to function. So where is the balance?
How Much Sodium Should You Take in a Day?
There are 40 g of sodium in 100 g of salt. Some other foods contain traces of sodium as well.
Experts don’t all agree on the best dosage, but most say that you should aim for 1500 mg of sodium a day. You absolutely need to avoid going over 2300 mg.
But how can a low sodium diet improve your health? What problems does sodium cause?
The Negative Effects of Sodium
- Sodium increases your blood pressure, which strains your cardiovascular system and puts you at risk of serious illnesses.
- It also decreases your vitamin D levels. This can lead to complications, such as skin conditions or diabetes.
- Since sodium makes your body absorb less calcium, it can put you at risk of osteoporosis. Hence, post-menopausal women should be especially careful with it.
- Too much sodium puts you at risk of stroke.
- It can put you at risk of heart disease as well, although research shows that this isn’t true in every case. High blood pressure and a vitamin D deficiency are definitely bad for your heart.
As you age, your sodium intake starts having a bigger influence on your blood pressure. Thus many diet plans for people over 40 advise cutting back on it.
So how can a low sodium diet improve your health? It will keep you safe from high blood pressure. You should, therefore, try to avoid oversalting your meals, and also check ingredient lists to find out how much sodium your favorite snacks contain.
It’s definitely not a good idea to leave salt out completely. But most Americans consume way too much of it, which is causing a high blood pressure epidemic.