Many recent studies warn against excessive use of sodium in diet. This is because high intake of salt often leads to various health problems such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and kidney disease or stroke. While it is important not to have salt in high quantities in your diet, we cannot live without consuming the essential mineral found in salt i.e. Sodium. Sodium is required for functioning of our nerves and muscles, absorption of various other nutrients, and controlling water-mineral composition in our body.
Salt contains sodium to the extent of 40% and chloride for remaining 60%. Salt helps us in maintaining the fluid balances in our body. Salt is mainly present in our blood and it is discharged by our body mainly in urine and sweat. On the other hand, sodium is a mineral present in many food items that we eat such as vegetables, fruits, processed meats like fish, corned beef, salty snacks, packed and canned foods, cheese, and fast foods. Sodium is essential as it helps in absorption of minerals in our body and the lack of sodium affects the functioning of nerves and muscles.
Sodium intake is essential for the body, and its inadequacy in the body is very rare. But, excessive amount of sodium is a cause of concern. This is because sodium retains excess water in the body, which in turn may lead to rise in blood pressure, weight increase, and painful ankles.
Excessive intake of salt leads to thinning of bones (osteoporosis), kidney problems, and asthma.
It is recommended to have only 1000-3000 mg of sodium per day to make up for the daily loss of sodium. If you eat healthy and nutritious diet, you can easily get your daily supply of sodium. If you have high blood pressure, controlling your intake of salt can benefit you. Also, it is advisable not to put extra salt while having food. Use low sodium salt to control your intake of sodium. Read food labels carefully to get sodium information. You can even opt for sodium free spices, such as bay leaves, garlic, ginger, lemon, mint, oregano, parsley, sesame, thyme, pepper, and rosemary. Also, eat foods that have low sodium content such fresh vegetables, salads, shredded wheat, puffed rice, wheat, oatmeal, and crackers. Avoid eating foods that have high sodium such as pickles, olives, corned or chopped beef, smoked fish, salami, sausage, processed cheese, ready to eat cereals, baking soda or baking powder, soda drinks, salted nuts, and potato chips.