Sodium is an essential element for the human body. Without sodium muscles and nerves will not function. The water and mineral balance are also maintained by sodium.

Increased sodium intake retains more fluid in the blood and the increased volume of blood needs the heart to work harder to pump the blood thus increasing the blood pressure.

Arterioles are blood vessels which dilate and constrict to regulate the blood pressure and they are contracting under the influence of sodium which increases the blood pressure.

At present it is not possible to find out who may be sensitive to the effects of sodium. This is the reason why all are advised to limit the sodium intake. You should not stop salt completely and it is also dangerous to your health.

Diets high in potassium and calcium may help to decrease the blood pressure. All the other risk factors – obesity, too much of alcohol, smoking - must be eliminated. Physical activity is a must everyday – 30 min quick walking is enough.

The amount of daily recommended intake of sodium is 2 g to 3 g per day. If you sweat excess you must take more to replace the loss of sodium.

Little sodium is found in nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and in meats. Much is used in cooking or as table salt. It is also present in our pickles, chips and all the salted fish and snacks. In the food processing the industry is also using many sodium salts as preserving and flavour enhancing agents and moreover used as additives. So unknowingly we may take three to nine times more sodium than we need.

If you eat the unprocessed fresh food or food cooked by you then everything is under control. You must be very critical with processed food as well as commercial chips and other snacks. Never use too much of the table salt.

We should not avoid sodium completely and if you do so it is dangerous for your life.