How much sodium per day is good for you?

How much sodium per day is healthy or safe? It is said the body requires less than 500 milligrams of sodium (salt) each day to function healthily. This amounts to less than a quarter of a teaspoon. Not an awful lot. So, it’s easy to overdo it if you are not watchful and don’t read labels carefully.

The ideal limit is said to be about 1500 mg a day, which amounts to about half a teaspoon. It is recommended you don't go over that. But, most Americans consume over 3,000 mg, closer to 3,500! That's only about one and a half teaspoons of salt. It can add up fast if we eat out a lot, snack on junk food and prepare mostly processed prepackaged foods at home...

It’s not just the salt shaker we have to worry about. Matter of fact, it could be more of a friend than foe. At least, you know how much you use. Salt is a hidden ingredient in processed foods. It’s more abundant in snack and junk foods than you might think.

Too much salt can be bad for blood pressure and kidneys. The best way I know to become more aware of how much salt you are consuming is to eat plant based whole food. This way, you know there is no added salt, unless it is you who adds it.

When I used to eat far too much salt, my ears started ringing (tinnitus? maybe.) I also used to have much higher blood pressure. Now I do not.

Certain things I ate and drank made me crave salt. For example, when I drank coffee and tea (which contain varying amounts of caffeine,) it caused me to shed water through excessive urination.

I believe my body combatted this by making me crave salt which helped me retain more water in my system. Our bodies are intelligent and try to adjust and compensate for our overindulgences.

High salt consumption makes our bodies retain fluid creating chronic bloating. Sodium (a mineral) is important in regulation of fluid balance outside your bodily cells. It also helps nerve impulses communicate normally to different parts of your body.

You have to look at the amount they say is in a portion on the label. But, a portion may be a 'mere' teaspoon or tablespoon or two!

A potential problem begins when you constantly flood your kidneys with table salt and salty processed foods. Your kidneys may not be able keep up with flushing an overwhelming amount of salt through to urination.

Then, with nowhere else to go, sodium begins to accumulate in the blood stream. The sodium increases the volume of the blood, exerting pressure on the walls of our blood vessels making our blood pressure go up possibly leading to future cardiovascular disease kidney disease and stroke.

Although, weight loss is important to health, other factors contribute. Therefore, it is sensible to adopt a diet low in salt, sugar and oil. For example, oil (all refined oils including olive oil) can damage the endothelial (interior) lining of arteries and fructose can create fatty liver disease also leading to cardiovascular disease. The whole food plant based diet fits the bill in that you control what you add to it. It has just the right amounts of sodium, fats and natural sugars. 

Note- before you change your diet contact your doctor.