It has been known for years that excess of salt in your diet can lead to health problems causing, for instance, increased risk of developing hypertension. The blame for this matter is put on a component of salt: sodium. Although it entails negative consequences when consumed in too big quantities, this element plays a very important role in your organism. It is interesting to know that without it, it is not possible to maintain vital functions, and its deficiency is also adverse and dangerous to your health!
The biological role of sodium
Sodium is an essential ingredient of our diet, and must absolutely be supplied along with food we eat and liquids we drink. It takes part in regulating water supply in your body and electrolyte management, and while interacting with another important element, potassium, it builds enzyme that adjusts a number of cells involved in nerves stimulation. Additionally, it allows to transport a number of compounds necessary for functioning of the body's cells called sodium-potassium pump. However, little is mentioned about the biological role of sodium, and most studies about this element speak of negative effects of its abuse. Why is that so? Well, the answer is simple.
We go over the top with salt
The main reason that the sodium is usually portrayed in a negative light is that its consumption is usually far too large and often exceeds the organism needs by several times. The phenomenon of excessive salt consumption affects both developed countries and developing ones, elderly people and middle-aged, and teenagers, not to mention children! The effect of soft spot for salty foods is a disorder of water and electrolyte management, abnormal development of intestinal microflora, as well as increased blood pressure. Severity of adverse health effects is additionally enhanced by deficiency in another element: potassium. It can be found mostly in vegetables and fruits, and, unfortunately, we eat too little of these, which results in relatively common shortages of this mineral.
Excess sodium consuption does not concern everybody
The bad reputation sodium has won has made many health-conscious people completely exclude salt from their menu. They do it by, on the one hand, resigning form putting salt in their dishes, and, on the other, by excluding highly processed foods from their diets (which, in the course of technological processing, is usually generously seasoned with salt). This type of practice should be considered reasonable, however, in extreme forms may entail negative consequences associated with... sodium deficiency. The problem is more likely when lower intake of this element is accompanied by a higher physical activity level. During exercising we lose sodium while sweating. It appears that too low sodium consumption can cause both immediate and long-term negative health effects.