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Everybody has sodium in their diet; it’s a fact of life. Sodium is an essential nutrient. Some of us, however, may be getting too much, and often we aren’t even aware of where it’s hiding in the foods we’re eating. Learn why lowering your sodium intake may benefit your health. The good news first: Salt has many uses. It raises the boiling point of water, tenderizes meats and enhances the flavor of many foods. The bad news is that table salt contains 2, milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. For most people and children 14 years and older, the recommendation is to limit sodium to less than 2, milligrams per day. For those with existing blood pressure or other health concerns, the recommendation may be even lower. It would be difficult to consume that much sodium in one concentrated bite.
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It flavors food and is used as a binder and stabilizer. The human body requires a small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals. It is estimated that we need about mg of sodium daily for these vital functions. But too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause calcium losses, some of which may be pulled from bone. Most Americans consume at least 1. The U. Dietary Reference Intakes state that there is not enough evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance or a toxic level for sodium aside from chronic disease risk. Because of this, a Tolerable Upper intake Level UL has not been established; a UL is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause harmful effects on health. Guidelines for Adequate Intakes AI of sodium were established based on the lowest levels of sodium intake used in randomized controlled trials that did not show a deficiency but that also allowed for an adequate intake of nutritious foods naturally containing sodium.