The Health Benefits and Health Risks of Salt

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Doctors all over the world accept the importance of salt for good health and life. The medical experts make use of it in dietary therapy to treat or prevent health problems. Saline solution is used in hospital emergency rooms.

Salt: Health Benefits

Sodium is an important chemical element in salt, and salt is the major source of sodium in our food. 2.5 grams of salt provides 1 gram of sodium. Our body needs a small amount of sodium to help maintain normal function of nerves and muscles, especially in relaxation and contraction and keep normal blood pressure.

Sodium is the key mineral compromising our blood. All body fluids consist of sodium and it helps in maintaining fluid balance within the body. Sodium is essential for good health, specially for balancing our potassium -sodium balance levels.

As sodium functions as a proper hydrator, Lower level of sodium in our body results in dehydration. Insufficient sodium can also cause an imbalance in pH level of blood and bad muscle function.

Sodium is also necessary in producing gradients across cells to facilitate nutrients uptake and to send electrical impulses in muscle and nerve .In this context, it is crucial that the body is capable for managing the sodium level in the blood.

Sodium is essential to regulate blood pressure, and the body fluids. Our body only requires about 1,000 mg of salt / day, and it is to be noted that, healthy adults should not use more than about 2,400 mg daily. These consumption levels may vary from individual to individual based on determinants including current state of health weight, activity level, and so on. But the fact is that most of us eat four times or more the upper limit of daily sodium recommendations.

Salt: Health Risks

Too much sodium in the diet results in severe health problems. It has been a topic of hot debate over the past couple of decades about the interconnection between salt and blood pressure. Many studies have been revealed that higher intake of sodium may increase blood pressure.

If you have excess salt in your body, it begins to accumulate in your blood, which results in the increment of your blood volume and weight. In fact, it generates much more burden to your heart to send same amount of blood. Gradually, this can cause negative impacts to your cardiovascular system, making you badly affected to artery and heart health risks. At the same time, high sodium intake can contribute to water retention, and you will get dehydrated. As a result, blood pressure varies. High blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack.

Too much sodium in the diet has been associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer and adverse effects on the kidney if there is some underlying abnormality. Consuming foods with more salt can generate kidney problems, and causes water retention and cause swelling.

How to Cut Down on Salt?

Processed or prepared foods are the major part of salt consumption comes from. For e.g.: soups, canned vegetables and lunchmeats, frozen meals, and even packaged desserts may contain huge quantity of sodium. . You'll see that some products have excess amounts of sodium, while others have somewhat less. It is so essential that always checkup the nutritional label on the products that you want to buy. Always choose low level sodium varieties, especially in canned goods.

Thus, if you are in a stage to reduce the consumption of salt, the most important thing you should do is to avoid most of the processed foods. Instead, eat fresh meat, fresh produce, and canned foods that are labeled as "low sodium”. Avoid salty souse, like soy sauce, steak sauce, and tamari and Worcestershire sauce. Keep away from frozen foods in general.


Beverly Anne Sanchez
Posted on Oct 30, 2010
carol roach
Posted on Mar 15, 2010