Sodium is not all bad and if your doctor does not have you on a sodium restricted diet, then it is okay to consume it. With most things, moderation is the key. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines which states that foods high in sodium should be limited and that the average American should have less than 2300 mg per day, even less for those under the age of 14.(1) According to the CDC, most Americans consume over 3400 mg per day. (2)
Sodium is an important mineral. It helps maintain the balance of water in your cells and is important for muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain blood pressure levels (3). Too much sodium, however, can cause high blood pressure leading to heart disease and strokes (4). Healthline refers to a number of studies that show too much sodium is associated with stomach cancer. It also points out that short term effects include swelling due to the body's need to maintain a water/sodium balance. The more sodium you have, the more your body retains water and the swelling occurs, usually starting in the hands and feet. (5) I've noticed that when I have too much sodium, my rings become tight.
All in all, your diet is up to you. Is it going to kill you to eat that tasty salt-filled meal from that restaurant tempting you to "Savor the Spice of Life?" Probably not today. If you decide to start that day off with a salty breakfast (biscuits and sausage gravy for example), then have a sub filled with deli meats and cheese for lunch, and then go to the restaurant, well then, that's probably not going to kill you either, this once. If you choose to eat like this everyday, that's a different story. It's about your lifestyle, your overall diet, and moderation. For me, living with a low sodium diet was really hard at first. I never realized how much it was part of my everyday food or how much I liked it. Now, it's not as hard and it can be just as tasty.
If you want help with meal planning and overall nutrition, let me help. I truly believe that a Nutritious Life is a Pleasant Life. If you are thinking of choosing a more healthy lifestyle, please know that you do not have to be on that journey alone.
Homemade Tomato Soup
Lisa Pleasants is a Nutrition Consultant certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates. Nutrition is her passion and the articles you find here are just some tips on achieving better nutrition.