Salt and Sodium, Are they the Same? Posted By : Michael C. Podlesny

Salt, some of us like the taste, some of us can't stand it, but like it or not it is required in your daily intake. But just how much do you need?

The amount of salt intake will vary depending on your physical activity as well as other factors. Runners for example, the recommended salt intake per day is less than 2,300 milligrams.

Salt has been liked to various forms of diseases and conditions, such as high blood pressure and even Dementia. In Therapy Today Magazine, research director Iain Ryrie said "that If people want to protect themselves against dementia, they should limit the amount of salt and saturated fat they consume and eat foods that contain essential B vitamins, Omega 3 and zinc."

Sodium which is found in salt, is big culprit when it comes to these conditions. The present average person intakes, approximately 3000-4500 mg/day of sodium That is very high, and is, 2-3-fold in comparison with the current Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) of 1500 mg.

According to Matthew Kadey of Muscle & Fitness, "Between checking labels for fat grams and counting carbs, who has time to think about sodium? You don't need to obsess over sodium intake, but you should probably work on ways to reduce it in your diet. Here's why: It's estimated that 25% of people with normal blood pressure and about 60% of those with high blood pressure are salt-sensitive, which means that as salt intake goes up, so does blood pressure. If you're salt-sensitive, you may be at a much higher risk for strokes and heart attacks, even though your blood pressure may ordinarily be normal."

Kadey continues, "The sodium in salt can raise your blood pressure in two ways. By causing the body to retain water, sodium increases blood volume and therefore blood pressure. Sodium also causes smooth muscle contraction and constriction of small blood vessels, which is associated with a greater resistance to blood flow. The common "cheat" day that's a part of many fitness enthusiasts' diets can produce an elevated heart rate and blood pressure in response to a sudden increase in sodium ingestion."

"With excessive sodium intake, there's more to worry about than just high blood pressure. When you consume too much sodium, your body retains water to dilute the sodium concentration in your blood to a healthier level. As a result, you urinate less and bloating can occur. So next time your pants feel a little snug, think about that soup you had for lunch -- a can of chicken noodle soup has 2,690 mg of sodium! But you also don't want to go too far in your efforts to avoid sodium. The extreme sodium restriction often employed by fitness competitors and bodybuilders can result in this same water retention as the body fights to retain sodium and, in turn, water," claims Kadey.

So what is the different between sodium and salt? Kadey says, "Sodium is an element found naturally in various foods, and it's essential that we get some in our diets because it regulates the body's fluid balance and blood pressure, helps the muscles relax and carries nutrients to the cells. Table salt (sodium chloride) consists of 40% sodium and 60% chloride; a teaspoon contains 2,300 mg of sodium. Sodium and salt are terms often used interchangeably."

So when choosing your foods read the labels and choose foods with 200mg or less of sodium. Do not just concentrate on reading the fat and carb contents. Remove the salt shaker from the table and use as little salt as possible when cooking. Chances are you are already getting enough in your diet, regardless of how good or bad it is.

By: Michael C. Podlesny

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