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Let's Talk Salt!

Salt is everywhere and in almost everything we consume on a daily basis. A daily consumption of over 2300 mg of sodium increases your chance of having serious health issues. On average, Canadians consume 3400 mg of sodium daily through mostly processed and packaged foods. High sodium consumption can cause your blood pressure to rise, increase your risk of stroke and heart disease and trigger severe migraines (just to name a few things!).

In order to function correctly the body needs sodium but only a very small amount (under 500 mg per day); sodium is the main electrolyte that keeps fluid intake into the body regular. You stay hydrated because sodium pumps water into cells. Potassium flushes out the byproducts from the cells which eventually eliminates the waste from the body. Kidneys are the next in the process. They regulate the sodium levels in the body. If levels are low the kidneys conserve sodium minerals, if the levels are high the excess sodium is excreted from the body through urine.

Sodium is seen in prepared and processed foods. It is used to preserve and enhance the flavour of foods. Sodium is naturally a part of foods such as meat, dairy products and vegetables. There has been much hype about pink Himalayan salt being better for you but the jury is still out on this one and more research is needed. If you want to add a pinch of pink salt to your food, go ahead, but you probably won’t reap any special health benefits.

To limit sodium intake eat more FRESH fruit and vegetables, season food with herbs and spices - not salt, or choose unsalted snacks instead of overly salty ones such as pretzels and potato chips. Always read your labels and educate yourself on healthy alternatives. And on those days you may have over-done it on your salt consumption, drink lots of water. This will help flush it out of your body faster.

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