why is it bad to consume a great amount of it?
The Sodium Issue
Current health advice warns against eating too much sodium. This warning is based on research that suggests that eating high amounts of sodium may contribute to the development of high blood pressure in certain people. High blood pressure may then lead to heart disease, kidney disease, or stroke.
Why Not Eliminate Sodium from the Diet?
Sodium is an absolutely necessary mineral for the human body. Without it, nerves and muscles would cease to function, the absorption of major nutrients would be impaired, and the body would not be able to maintain adequate water and mineral balance.
How Does Sodium Contribute to High Blood Pressure?
In a complex way, increased salt intake causes more fluid to be contained in the blood vessels. This increased volume of blood requires the heart to work harder to pump blood to all the tissues in the body. Increasing the blood's volume within the enclosure of the circulatory system is one way that salt increases blood pressure. Another way salt helps elevate blood pressure is through the action of the arterioles. Arterioles are blood vessels that dilate and constrict to regulate blood pressure and blood flow. By contracting under the influence of sodium, arterioles effectively increase the resistance to blood movement and lessen the volume of blood that is returned to the heart. This action also increases blood pressure. Other mechanisms linking sodium with hypertension are less well understood.
The extent to which each person responds to high intakes of salt is probably genetically determined. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of sodium than others, and sodium sensitivity appears to increase with age. At present, there is not accurate test to determine who may be sensitive to the effects of sodium. It is for this reason that the United States population as a whole is advised to reduce sodium use.
There are certain characteristics which help identify individuals who may develop high blood pressure. These risk factors include:
A family history of high blood pressure.
Elevated blood pressure readings.
A high resting heart rate (given the level of physical fitness).
A body weight more than 15% of ideal body weight.
High blood pressure is a "silent" disease; it often has no symptoms. Be sure you and your health care provider monitor your blood pressure regularly.
How Much Sodium Is Recommended?
Sodium is normally recycled in the body and it is only necessary to eat enough sodium to replace your daily losses. Sodium may be lost by the body through perspiration, secretions, and normal excretory functions. To replace this loss, it is recommended that most people eat no more than 1-3 grams of sodium per day. This is approximately the amount of sodium found in one-half to two-thirds teaspoon of table salt.
What Are the Sources of Sodium?
Sodium is a regular part of our food supply. It is found naturally in meats, nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in low amounts. Unfortunately, most of the sodium Americans eat today is added to food in the form of sodium chloride, or table salt. Table salt is added to food by the manufacturer in the process of preserving and processing, and it is widely used as a flavor enhancer. Sodium is also hidden as a part of other chemical additives, such as sodium nitrite, sodium benzoate saccharin, sodium, and monosodium glutamate. As a result, many Americans unknowingly consume three to five times more sodium than they need.
How to Control Sodium Intake
By eating a diet of predominately unprocessed food, it is possible to obtain enough sodium to meet the body's needs. The best way to moderate your sodium intake is to become more aware of the sources of sodium in your diet and moderate your intake of salty food and table salt. The following guide may help you discover a more low sodium diet.
Sources of added salt
Canned or frozen vegetables
Sodium-nitrite cured meats, such as: bacon, ham, salami
Lower sodium alternatives
Puffed rice or wheat
Low-sodium, ready-to-eat cereals
Lemon and other spices
Experiment using fewer additives
Fresh fruit juices
Nitrite-free sandwich meats, such as turkey and chicken breast
Because there are not yet clear standards for sodium use in processed food or for package labeling, it is important to read the label closely. If sodium has been added to the food, the label must say so.
Last Modified 8/7/2002
High Blood Pressure and it makes you retain water.
I'm no doctor but I feel as long as you dont just sit and eat bullion cubes all day and you are in good health, especially younger that it doesn't make that much of a difference other than water retention. But unless your trying to score at the beach or getting ready for a comp...who cares?
Originally Posted by harryhoudini66
what happens to the body when the water is retained?
You look more bloated/less cut.Originally Posted by carlossalsa8