I’m not going to vilify sodium because by itself, salt (sodium) is a necessary electrolyte that is essential for proper nerve functioning. To its credit we can’t live without it. The problem is that we like to too much often sprinkling salt on salt.
What do I mean by this?
Think about this for a moment, nearly all prepared food that you buy in a grocery store or a restaurant has already been salted. Weather its your steak and mashed potatoes at your local Applebees or the can of green beans from the grocery store, unless you bought them in some dietetic section the odds are overwhelming that they contain salt. Even so, most people are quick to reach for the salt shaker and do yet another sprinkling thinking that the their food needs a bit more seasoning. Keep in mind though that this is an aquired habit, you weren’t born this way. The good news is that you can gradually reduce your sodium and as you become accustomed to it you will come to realize that quality food doesn’t have to be buried under a mound of salt to be enjoyed. but lets be clear, salt is necessary but too much salt can be deadly, especially if you have high blood pressure.
The dangers of salt if you have high blood pressure:
If you have high blood pressure, one of the first things that your doctor will tell you is to reduce your sodium. Why is this? Since you didn’t come here for a lesson in biology I will limit the explanation to plain English. Your kidneys filter excess salt from your body and it is excreted in your urine. If you take in too much salt however your kidneys cannot keep up and the extra sodium is passed into your bloodstream where it attracts water. This is a defensive mechanism because your body is attempting to dilute your blood in order to lower the level. This has a negative side effect however because as the salt attracts water, more water is drawn into your bloodstream which in turn increases the volume of blood which raises blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to salt than others and there is no simple rule for how much salt should be in your diet.
So what should you do?
Take your doctors advice and reduce your sodium intake. This is a natural solution with no negative side effects assuming that you continue to consume healthy levels of salt from natural sources.