Your blood pressure will be lower
Sodium is an important element that helps regulate fluid levels in the body and the vast majority of us actually consume way more than we need. One negative effect of too much salt? High blood pressure. “Substantial studies and evidence have linked sodium intake with hypertension,” says Dr Amin Yehya, an advanced heart failure cardiologist and author of the textbook, Heart Failure: What a Non-Heart Failure Specialist Needs to Know. Too much sodium causes the body to hold onto water to balance it out, leading to increased blood volume and pressure on the circulatory system.
Your risk of heart attack and stroke will go down
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so lowering blood pressure by reducing sodium intake can also lower your risk for heart attack and stroke. “Worldwide, 54 per cent of strokes and 47 per cent of heart disease are attributed to hypertension,” says Dr Yehya. “Excess sodium has blood pressure-independent effects promoting left ventricular hypertrophy [a pumping problem of the heart’s main chamber] as well as fibrosis [thickening and scarring] in the heart and arteries.” Although there has been some debate on the direct link between salt consumption and heart health, heat specialists remain convinced that sodium reduction is beneficial.
Learn how salt became the modern-day food manufacturer’s best friend – and how to reduce your intake.
You’ll lose water weight
Ever notice how your rings are tight after you eat a salty pizza or plate of french fries? That’s because the extra sodium causes your body to retain water. “Your kidneys are programmed to maintain a ratio of electrolytes, including sodium,” says registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. “When you consume too much sodium, this ratio gets thrown off, so your kidneys hold onto more water to balance it. When you reduce your sodium intake, this balance is shifted and the kidneys no longer hold onto the excess fluid, helping you to lose the water weight.”