Because we tend to consume much more salt than our bodies generally need to properly function, many people now associate salt intake with poor eating habits. But while there are links between high salt consumption and high blood pressure, not everyone is suited for a low-sodium diet. In fact, consuming too little salt can actually have adverse health effects, so maintaining the right balance is crucial to staying heart healthy.
How Much Is Too Much?
There’s no question that lowering excessive salt intake can lower the risk of heart disease for those with high blood pressure, or hypertension, but it’s important to distinguish between high and alarmingly low sodium levels. Most people don’t have an accurate idea of how much salt they’re eating on a daily basis, which could be part of the problem.
One teaspoon of table salt contains just over 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is right at the daily requirement. Consuming well below this amount of salt can pose some serious health risks, as your body struggles to balance its water content. You might experience fatigue, nausea, confusion and muscle weakness if you’re not getting enough sodium.
Tips for Heart-Healthy Living
The bottom line is that instead of simply cutting out as much salt from your diet as possible, it’s better to first know how much sodium you’re consuming, and then adjust the foods you’re eating accordingly. Of course, some people may benefit from sticking to a low-sodium diet, particularly those who are at a very high risk of hypertension, but many others may not benefit from lowering their intake at all.
It’s also worth noting that other dietary habits can affect your heart health, including high sugar intake, so maintaining a balanced diet and an active lifestyle are key factors in boosting your heart health.