Sodium is a mineral needed by your body in small amounts (probably only about 500mg daily) for electrolyte and fluid balance and for transmitting nerve impulses. The newest recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences is to limit your sodium intake to 1,500mg per day or less, but most people easily consume many times this amount. Someindividuals are sodium sensitive, meaning high sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure, and low sodium intake may correct high blood pressure.
It’s interesting to note, however, that some cultures with very high intakes of sodium also have low incidences of hypertension and heart disease, so the puzzle is far from complete. Sodium is found naturally in some foods, but most of your intake comes from processed food or eating in restaurants where you don’t have much control over food preparation.
Another common source of sodium is the salt shaker—just one teaspoon of the white stuff contains about 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Some common names of ingredients high in sodium include sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate (MSG), brine, baking soda, broth, bouillon, and soy sauce.