FAIRBANKS, Alaska - These tiny granules of salt can make our food taste so good, but like all good things, too much can have adverse effects on the body such as raising blood pressure and putting those at risk for other life threatening events.
"Having high blood pressure is a major risk for heart attack, for stroke, for heart failure, even for things like dementia," said Amy Pollak, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.
According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is a leading risk factor for death in women in the United States contributing to nearly 200 thousand female deaths each year. That's nearly five times the 42,000 annual deaths from breast cancer.
"If you go out to eat and some one is preparing your food, just ask them, 'Hey, don't add any salt to my food, please,'" she said.
The American Heart association also says, kids who have high-sodium diets are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure than kids who have low-sodium diets.
"It takes a while to reset your taste buds to get used to that lower-salt diet, but you can really make up for any flavor deficits by using more spices or more herbs," she said.
Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight can also help lower blood pressure.
"Certainly, some people can have a more dramatic effect on blood pressure with weight loss, but you can see the most bang for your buck is really in the low-salt diet," she said.
Pollak says there are countless benefits to monitoring sodium intake. Following steps to reduce salt can develop into a healthier diet one grain at a time.