Besides adding flavour to our food, salt actually plays important roles in the body. It is the most common source of sodium and chloride ions, which cannot be made by the body itself and so need to be consumed through our food intake. Sodium plays a significant role in the body. In particular, it regulates volumes of fluid in the body. It also aids the uptake of various other nutrients into cells. The normal pH, or acid-base level, of the blood is also influenced by the sodium levels in the body.
Even if you never touch a salt shaker, it doesn’t mean you’re not eating a ton of salt. You may be surprised at how many of the foods you eat at home, as well as the foods you eat out, are loaded with salt.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, our kidneys have trouble processing excess sodium, causing our bodies to retain water. That puts more pressure on blood vessels and makes more work for the heart. This can lead to high blood pressure (a leading cause of cardiovascular disease), heart attack, and stroke, among other things.
Our bodies need small amounts of sodium to function properly. For most healthy adults, current dietary guidelines recommend a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day is recommended for those over age 51, African-Americans, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Many of us are aware that we shouldn’t eat too much salt. To be precise, adults should avoid eating over 6g (or around about a teaspoon of salt) a day. The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, estimates that the current global average intake of salt is between 9g and 12g per day. This seems significantly higher than recommended.
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