Salt gets a bad reputation because most people actually consume about 3,400 mg every day, according to the CDC, when the recommended daily amount is 2,300 mg.

But salt is important for proper body cell function, Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says. “Sodium and potassium live in balance for the body,” she adds.

Sodium is essential for nerve cells to communicate well, prevent muscle cramps, regulate blood sugar and fluid balance, Malkoff adds. Until we get too much of it. Most people consume a lot of the former and not enough of the latter; hence, the problems.