Sodium is found in nearly every food in the typical American diet. It serves several functions in the body, its most important function relates to balancing the body’s fluids. It also aids with muscle and nerve function. Sodium is processed through the kidneys, when there is too much of it in the diet it enters the bloodstream and can lead to elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is linked to a large number of chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, dementia, metabolic syndrome and weakened or torn blood vessels.

Sodium is present in all processed foods, usually in large quantities. Over 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended. It is an essential mineral for the body, but it is exceedingly rare not to consume enough of it in the developed world, and focusing on limiting intake is the best strategy for long term health.