JUN 02, 2017 11:45 AM PDT

Why Salt is Good and Bad For Your Health

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt a day with the ideal salt consumption capped at 1,500 milligrams a day. This translates to 1 teaspoon or less of salt a day. Surely, then, you won't be surprised to learn that most Americans exceed this limit. We like our foods to be flavorful, and salt is often the solution for blandness.

But what happens when we consistently consume too much salt? When you consume salt, thirst signals get activated, compelling you to drink more water to dilute the sodium in the blood. But over time, water retention in the body can lead to high blood pressure - a condition that puts stress on vital organs like the heart and kidneys.

That's not to say that we don't need salt at all. In fact, the body relies on a small amount of salt for proper transmission of nerve impulses and to regulate blood pressure. But this amount is quite small at less than 500 milligrams a day.

Some processed foods don't necessarily taste salty, but could contain way more sodium than you need in each serving. So next time, pay attention to the amount of salt that you consume.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
AUG 10, 2020
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
The Earth's magnetic field is crucial for life on Earth. Generated by the molten iron core 3000 km beneath our plane ...
AUG 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
AUG 12, 2020
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
Supermassive black holes are enormous wells of gravity that bind galaxies together and emit bright X-ray beams. Known to ...
AUG 21, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Earth's Outer Core, in the Middle of a Laboratory
AUG 21, 2020
Earth's Outer Core, in the Middle of a Laboratory
Deep underneath our feet lies Earth's outer core, a fluid layer over two thousand kilometers (1,500 mi) in thickness ...
SEP 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Could There Be Life on Venus?
SEP 10, 2020
Could There Be Life on Venus?
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, reaching 465 degrees Celcius- a temperature hot enough to melt lead. Wh ...
NOV 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
NOV 19, 2020
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
Sour beer isn't for everyone: its unique taste of acidity and tartness could excite some but turn off others.  ...
NOV 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
NOV 27, 2020
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
A common entity that connects everything from majestically looking galaxies and nebula to the enormously diversified bio ...
Loading Comments...