Why Do We Need Salt in Our Diet?

Spicy Fries
Plate of french fries with seasoning (Image: Leighton-Anthony Miller/iStock/Getty Images)

If you're like most Americans, you consume too much sodium. Most of the sodium in your diet comes in the form of salt, perhaps from fast food or processed food, which are both primary sources of sodium. Too much sodium increases your blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite this, sodium is essential for health, because it helps fulfill certain biological functions.

Essential to Your Body

Pinch of salt
Taking a pinch of salt (Image: per_carl/iStock/Getty Images)

Aim to limit your sodium consumption to less than 2,300 milligrams daily. Salt is composed of sodium and chloride, which are two electrolytes that help maintain fluid balance and the transmission of nerve impulses. In your intestines, sodium helps your body absorb chloride, amino acids, glucose and water. Sodium also helps your body regulate blood pressure. Consuming less sodium can help you prevent, or control high blood pressure, according to the CDC.

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