Taming your salt intake

Salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride, is an important component in the body, as the body needs sodium to maintain fluid balance, among other important functions.

However, too much salt intake can result in excess sodium in the body; resulting in dire consequences and serious health complications like high blood pressure, kidney disease, edema among others. It is therefore important to know how to keep your salt intake in check.

Balancing sodium and potassium in the body is one key strategy to employ as they work together to achieve the correct body fluid balance. Achieving a potassium sodium ratio of 2:1 is highly recommended.

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The average adult needs about 2.4 grams of sodium per day for normal function (one teaspoon of salt per day), meaning the potassium intake should average at around 4.8 grams daily. Luckily, potassium is present in readily available food products, mostly fruits and vegetables.

Ensuring an intake of fruits and vegetables in each meal of the day will be a good way of ensuring you achieve this potassium, sodium balance.

As such, avoid buying pre-cooked foods and snacks since they account for a large percentage of the salt we take in. Cooking from scratch is therefore a good way to ensure you take only as much salt as you need, without it being hidden under some fancy terms.

Regular exercise helps your body get rid of excess salt, mainly through sweating.

According to research, the average person loses approximately ½ teaspoon of salt through sweat with each hour of exercise.

Drinking plenty of water (plain water) is a good way of diluting excess salt in the body and helps to maintain a healthy sodium level.

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