All of us needs salt, the most common form is table salt or sodium chloride. It is essential because it contain sodium element which maintains a balance of positive and negative ions in our body fluids and tissues. It is also responsible for maintaining water in our body tissues. Imagine , the water inside our body will evaporate fast without the salt holding it. We better include salt in our diet.
But be warned . Excessive consumption of salt may results in health problems.
- Too much sodium in the diet has been associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer and adverse effects on the kidney.
- Excess of sodium can cause edema, an accumulation of extracellular fluid, especially in conditions such as congestive heart failure.
- Excess dietary salt may contribute to high blood pressure in some individuals.
- However , A low sodium intake leads to a lowering of the blood pressure and brings about diuresis, ridding the body of the excess extracellular fluid.
Normally, amount of sodium is expressed in food labels so we can take precautions. RDA requirement for sodium is 10 to 15 grams a day.
Sodium in our diet may also come in the following forms:
- Sodium nitrite: Found in cured meats and sausages. Regulated preservative
- Sodium propionate: Found in pasteurized cheese and in some breads and cakes to inhibit growth of molds.
- Sodium sulfite: Used to bleach certain fruits such as maraschino cherries and glazed or crystallized fruits that are to be artificially colored; also used as a preservative in some dried fruits such as prunes. This chemical is banned in many countries
- Disodium phosphate: Found in some quick-cooking cereals and processed cheeses.
- Sodium alginate: Used in many chocolate milks and ice creams to make a smooth mixture.
- Sodium benzoate: Used as a preservative in many condiments such as relishes, sauces and salad dressings. Regulated preservetive
- Sodium hydroxide: Used in food processing to soften and loosen skins of ripe olives and certain fruits and vegetables.