Oh, no, I love salt....
Yep, this is about Sodium. Please put away that salt shaker.
Salt was iodized by the Morton Salt Company in 1924, at the request of the U.S. Government. There were parts of the U.S. at that time where people were not getting enough iodine, because of the lack of it in local soil, and an iodine deficiency caused goiters. Iodine is a critical element for the thyroid gland. These days, we all get plenty of iodine, and there is rarely any kind of iodine deficiency anywhere, and you will get plenty of iodine if you cut salt out of your diet.
Sodium is a necessary nutrient for our bodies. Sodium is vital for maintaining the volume of the plasma in the body for cell regeneration. It also works with the central nervous system. Sodium is naturally found in many vegetables. The highest concentrations are in spinach (1 cup contains 184 mg of sodium). You can eliminate salt from your cooking, and still get plenty of sodium for your body to function correctly, if you eat fruits and vegetables and lean meats, including fish.
Table salt, or sodium chloride, is forty percent sodium. One teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. That is just over a half teaspoon of sodium per day, MAXIMUM.
Excess salt is in every single product that is processed, canned or made outside your home and has been for many, many years. Salt used to be a great preservative, before the onset of refrigeration, but now has been turned into an unnecessary product that people actually crave.
The average American consumes about ten times (15,000 mg) the recommended amount of salt every day. The biggest culprits for excess salt are processed foods, ALL fast foods, and canned foods, especially soup. Many dairy products also contain a lot of salt. Packaged meats are a huge abuser of sodium. This is another good reason to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and to cook meals at home, completely eliminating salt from the recipes. You will be amazed at how easily you can conquer your salt addiction, with additions of great herbs. An addiction to salt can actually kill you.
If you take in too much sodium, your kidneys cannot process it, you develop a toxicity, which can cause kidney disease and even kidney failure. Excess sodium causes you to retain water, which increases your blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the heart, the blood vessels and the kidneys. Anyone with high blood pressure should be ELIMINATING sodium from their diet.
Excess sodium can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, and really increases the risk of kidney stones, because excess sodium produces excess calcium, which is eliminated through the kidneys, and sometimes becomes kidney stones. Numerous studies have shown excess sodium can also cause stomach cancer.
What you SHOULD do: Eat no more than 1/2 tsp. (1,500 mg) of salt per day. That includes checking every single thing on every single label. One can of soup will throw you over that by a wide margin. Make your own soup!!! Packaged frozen meals are filled with extra salt. All restaurants use salt liberally.
By the way, sea salt and any other fancy gourmet salt, is still salt. It just doesn't have the iodine in it. It is the same stuff, just more hip, I guess. It should be looked at just like any other salt, and used VERY sparingly.
Here's to eating clean, eating healthy, making your doctor REALLY happy, and feeling better every day.
People have been mentioning drinking water as a way to get rid of excess salt. It doesn't work if you are way over the maximum, because your kidneys still cannot process too much salt, but drinking a lot of water helps everything, so do that!!
Become a label reader!!