It all has to do with the sodium-potassium relationship: According to existing literature, too little potassium in your diet and too much sodium can raise your blood pressure (which is why those with high blood pressure or hypertension are often advised to partake in low-sodium diets). 

But according to Wolf, it’s important to keep the sodium-potassium ratio in balance, not cut sodium out of the equation altogether. “If you get your sodium-potassium ratio off just a little bit, it can be a really gnarly downward spiral,” he says.

For example, if you lose sodium, says Wolf, your body will excrete potassium to try to meet the new, lower balance. “This is where things can be a really terrible downward spiral,” Wolf says, as too-low potassium is associated with muscle weakness, high blood sugar, and even arrhythmia in some severe cases. Too-high potassium, on the other hand, is considered a risk factor for heart failure

The bottom line? Sodium is necessary to keep things in balance, so we shouldn’t actively avoid it. Of course, Wolf refers to high-quality sea salt, not the sodium you can find loaded in processed foods. “Once we pull out the processed food, sodium is maybe not the dangerous thing we thought it was originally,” he says. 

Functional medicine physician Frank Lipman, M.D., agrees: “Your salt intake is usually too big because of all the processed foods. If you eliminate that, salt becomes a non-issue,” he once told us.



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