Salt in small amounts is necessary for health but too much can be harmful, particularly for those who already have high blood pressure.
A person’s total daily salt intake should be under 2,400mg (slightly more than 1 tsp). Increasing potassium consumption has a beneficial effect of reducing health consequences in those who are salt sensitive. Potassium typically is higher in fruits (especially bananas) and vegetables than other foods.
Most people eat around 10gm of salt per day; it would benefit anyone to halve this amount. There is no need to cook different meals for one member of a household: everybody can benefit from reducing their salt intake.
Sodium is the major electrolyte that maintains normal fluid outside the cells. Too much sodium can contribute to edema and high blood pressure; too little sodium can cause low blood pressure and dizziness.
Potassium is the major electrolyte inside of cells. Low potassium can cause muscle weakness and irritability, constipation, depression and heart problems and is potentially dangerous.
Conditions that suggest Excess Salt Consumption
Salt can increase the amount of fluid that you retain in your body.
Risk factors for Excess Salt Consumption
High added salt consumption
Recommendations for Excess Salt Consumption
Processed food often has salt added as a flavor enhancer to encourage product sales. Significantly reducing processed food consumption is always a good idea. The general rule is that any food in a package has had salt added. Look at the labels on the food that you eat. If the sodium content per 100gm is greater than 0.2gm, the food is high in salt.
|Strong or generally accepted link
(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.
(tsp) Equivalent to 5cc (5ml).
A mineral that serves as an electrolyte and is involved in the balance of fluid within the body. Our bodies contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium (typically 9oz versus 4oz). About 98% of total body potassium is inside our cells. Potassium is the principal cation (positive ion) of the fluid within cells and is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system and just about every cell in the body. Potassium regulates the water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues. Evidence is showing that potassium is also involved in bone calcification. Potassium is a cofactor in many reactions, especially those involving energy production and muscle building.
(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.
An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.
An element or compound that, when melted or dissolved in water or other solvent, breaks up into ions and is able to carry an electric current.
Abnormal accumulation of fluids within tissues resulting in swelling.
Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.