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Sodium's effect on your health

Commonly thought to be a hazard to health, the body actually requires sodium in order to function effectively. Sodium is a mineral that plays a very key role in regulating all the signals that the nervous system sends throughout the body. Without having enough, you would notice a great deal of malfunction with both your muscle contraction rate and your heart rate.

The big problem today, however, is that the vast majority of us are simply getting too much sodium in our diet and this is causing an increase in blood pressure levels. Even those who aren't adding salt at the table can still be at risk for taking in too much if they consume a lot of canned food products, fast food, or other convenience food choices.

Some tips for how you can reduce the salt in your diet include:

  • choosing fresh and frozen vegetables more often, rather than canned
  • selecting unsalted nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and lentils
  • limiting the amount of snack foods you consume, such as pretzels and chips
  • avoiding canned broths as a base ingredient for your sauces
  • selecting low-salt cottage cheese whenever possible
  • using herbs and spices to add flavour to your meals instead of other condiments that often contain a large amount of sodium.
If you participate in intense physical activity, you should also look into an electrolyte replacement beverage because when you sweat, you will be losing a lot of the salt that your body needs. If not replaced, you could begin to suffer from hyponatremia, which is a low salt level in the blood.

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