Salt is needed to help maintain balance of chemical reactions in our body. Technically it is needed to help conduct electrical currents in and between cells for nerve conduction and muscle contractions. Our bodies need approximately 1500-2000 milligrams of salt per day with the maximum range being 2300mg. The Mayo Clinic stated that the average american consumed about 3,200 mg of sodium per day – That almost 1000mg more than the maximum amount our bodies can handle. So what happens when we intake too much sodium? Excessive salt stiffens the walls of the arteries which means they are less able to absorb pressure from the heartbeat. This is what causes high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage small vessels in the eyes which can lead to blindness. It can also destroy the filters in your kidneys and even lead to brain stroke.
So in short:
The Good- mineral balance and electrical energy
The Bad- Too much SALT stiffens your arteries and raises blood pressure.
The Ugly- Strokes, Blindness, Kidney failure, Heart Failure, ect.
How do I limit my salt intake?
1. Eat as fresh as possible. Natural unprocessed food are not a problem. The salt they contain is the salt you should be eating. Eat food as grown!
2. Eliminate processed foods, especially restaurant food or at least limited as much as possible. One vegetarian Chipotle burrito with no sauce contains almost the entire days worth of sodium!
3. Do NOT cook with salt. Add salt at the table if necessary. (1/8 of a teaspoon per meal is the maximum amount)
4. Find an alternative you like: no salt seasonings,lemons, limes,and flavored vinegars all help add flavor and reduce the craving for salt.