Sodium has earned a bad reputation over the years because of its link to high blood pressure. Excessive amounts of sodium can be detrimental to your health, but your body needs sodium to function. So how much salt can you have daily? Let’s take a look at the medical community’s recommendations, including a few factors to consider.
How Much Salt is Ideal?
Healthy adults consume about 1500 mg of salt per day. But how much salt should a person consume in a day? The US Department of Health and Human Services advises people to limit salt consumption to one teaspoon of salt per day (2300 mg). It’s also important to remember that everyone may not react to sodium in the same way. For instance, if you’re a runner or work in high heat, chances are you’ll need to be consuming more sodium than the average person to replace what’s lost in your sweat.
What Role Does Sodium Play in Your Health?
Sodium is actually considered a nutrient because it has many benefits for your health. As an electrolyte, it creates electrically charged ions that hydrate the body, regulate nerve and muscle function, rebuild damaged tissue, and balance blood acidity and pressure. Sodium also helps to keep your bodily fluids balanced. So, before you get all salty with salt and start eliminating it completely from the foods you prepare, check with your doctor about your sodium levels.
What Happens if You Don’t Consume Enough Sodium?
We all know that high blood pressure can be caused by consuming too much salt, but evidence reveals that worse can happen with too little salt. While the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a maximum of 2300 mg of salt consumption in one day, another study showed that people who consumed fewer than 3,000 mg (3 grams) of sodium per day were more likely to have heart disease or die compared to people who consumed 4,000–5,000 mg (4–5 grams). Which guidelines should you follow? Ask your doctor what amount of sodium is right for you.
What do the top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure test mean? Learn about blood pressure basics here.