The United States Drug Administration has made its fair share of mistakes, and, in fact, still the many USDA guidelines and recommendations are reliably important in maintaining a healthy balance of salt and water in your oceanic body.
Let's go back to your school days (it was not that long ago, right?) And try to remember one of your most dangerous classes: Chemistry.
Chemically speaking, sodium in its pure form, is not a stable element, as it is volatile in water (of course dependent on the quantity involved in the exposure), but, as a compound, it exists as Sodium Chloride, better known as good 'ol fashioned salt.
So, sodium is an element of salt, and common sense should tell you that regulating your intake of salt, you also control the amounts of sodium that is required for your body to function optimally. This leads me to your other favorite class, biology.
Sodium plays a significant role in regulating blood and body fluids, the transmission of nerve impulses, heart activity, and certain metabolic functions. As you can see, it does a lot more than spice up your already sodium-soaked lunch.
Your body makes an effort to maintain a balance of water and salt, and so, when you exceed the limit of sodium through salt-ridden junk or fast food, it has to correct that balance by creating a sense of thirst. Of course, when it gets out of control as the sodium intake has far exceeded the limit for too long, it is then that we develop extreme conditions. So it is vital to pay attention to the balance of drinking water and regulating the amount of sodium that we consume on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, as per the USDA's recommendations, the maximum intake of sodium everyday should be limited to less than a teaspoon of salt or 2300 mg to be precise. That may look like a big number, but considering you can exceed that with ONE reliably nasty fast-food meal, it's definitely a number you should start paying attention to on the nutrition labels of the "foods" in your cart.
Seriously, grab just about anything in your house that came in a plastic bag or box – especially those with bright colors and CAPITALIZED health claims with exclusion points on the end – and check out the sodium per serving.
Remember, also, sodium is not all bad … extreme excesses of sodium are bad, so do not try and cut it out completely.