Sodium is a highly abundent element that scientists believe originally came to earth from fragments of falling stars. Salt has since been an addition to our diets for thousands of years. Prehistoric cave dwellers did not have any additional salt in their diet, they primarily ate fruits and vegetables.
Salt plays a vital role in our bodies now. It helps to regulate blood pressure, muscle contraction, regulates electrolytes and helps prevent dehydration.
Our body needs some sodium, but too much can considerable health risks. It can cause an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. These conditions can lead to kidney damage because the kidneys are responsible for eleminating sodium from the body. When the kidneys do not function properly, your body can not control the amount of sodium it releases, which can cause further sodium to build up in the body. This can cause swelling to occur in the face and limbs. It can also lead to shortness of breath, along with weakening of the heart muscle.
This is a vicious cycle that can be avoided by decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet. Most sodium that we consume is in our food. Additional dietary salt from salt shakers counts very little in total sodium intake. Most sodium in our diets comes from processed foods. Salt is used as a preservative and a taste enhancer. Sodium is found in so many foods you would not expect to find it in. Most processed foods have high levels of sodium. You can check the sodium levels in foods by looking at the nutritional contents. But be careful because a lot of foods will list the contents per serving, and there is usally more than one serving in most food packages.
It is recommended that you have no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium per day. If you eat one can of soup, that will usually exceed your daily allotment of sodium. Pasta sauce, lunch meats, smoked and processed meats are notorious for having high levels of sodium.
The article that I have posted here lists some alternatives for salt. Some might work well for you, but others will not. Be careful with it and listen to your body. Just because it might be a safer alternative to salt, it might not be safe to eat a lot of the alternative. As long as you pay attention to your sodium intake and don’t eat blindly, for the most part you should be okay.