Here's why reducing salt in your diet can save your life and tips to help you lower the salt in your diet from Magdalin Cheong, Head/Deputy Director, Department of Dietetic and Food Services at Changi General Hospital.
Sodium is essential for your body. It helps regulate fluid balance, blood volume and blood pressure. Your muscles and nerves also need sodium to work properly. The mineral is found naturally in the foods you eat. However, most of the sodium you consume comes from the salt and sauces that are added during processing and meal preparation. Salt is made up of 40 per cent sodium.
WHY IS REDUCING SODIUM INTAKE IMPORTANT?
To maintain normal fluid balance, your body needs only a small amount of sodium. The recommended amount of sodium intake is less than 2,000mg per day, equivalent to one teaspoon (5g) of salt.
Excess sodium acts like a sponge and retains water in your body. This, in turn, leads to an
increase in blood volume and raises your blood pressure. Hence,
excessive sodium intake is
a key risk factor of high blood pressure, which increases the risks of stroke, heart attack, and heart and kidney failure. Studies have shown that when daily sodium intake is reduced in people who have kidney, heart and liver problems, their conditions improve.