Healthy sodium levels, can you get enough naturally without adding extra?

salt

Sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body. Many foods contain sodium naturally, but most of the sodium in the diet comes from salt. Salt is made of sodium (40% by weight) and chloride (60% by weight). What sodium does in the body is to bind water and maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. It is also an electrically charged molecule, and along with potassium helps maintain electrical gradients across cell membranes, which is critical for nerve transmission, muscular contraction, and various other functions. Sodium, like light, air and water, is an essential element of everyday human life. Sodium, in particular, works to accelerate metabolism, regulate osmotic pressure, and maintain proper balance between acid and alkali in the human body. Sodium has always been valuable and people have long been on the search for the healthiest salt for mankind. 

So again we come to realize that yes sodium is healthy and actually the body wouldn’t be able to function without its recommended need. But again the problem in our society is not that we are lacking in sodium its that we are over consuming sodium. This has all been made so much easier for us to consume these large amounts because of all the packaged and processed foods we have out there. This is what you need to know. The recommended sodium intake we should be getting is 1500mg-2300mg. They say to aim for less then 1500mg a day and no more then 2300mg of sodium a day. 1500mg equals about 3/4 teaspoon or 3.75 grams and 2300mg equals over a teaspoon of sodium a day or 6 grams. The problem is that most people are consuming a lot more then that, the average intake being 3400mg which equals almost 2 teaspoons, most of it coming from processed foods.

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Now what happens to the body with an over load of sodium? The amount of salt you eat has a direct effect on your blood pressure. Salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease. Also, eating too much salt may mean that blood pressure medicines (such as diuretics) don’t work as well as they should. Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water, puts extra strain on the insides of your arteries. It may cause a slight reduction in the amount of blood reaching the heart this may lead to angina (sharp pains in the chest when being active). It may cause a slight reduction in the amount of blood reaching the brain. This may lead to dementia (known as vascular dementia).

The two most important aspects to consider with regards to salt are the ‘sodium to potassium ratio’ and the ‘type of mineral’ that makes up the salt. Salt is made up of minerals, but the kinds and content of minerals differ in each salt. The mineral, potassium, for example, works to excrete sodium, these minerals are an important nutrients that form the human body structure and regulate physiological functions. However, they are essential nutrients that must be consumed through foods because they cannot self-produce within the body. That is why it is so important to consume the right minerals for healthy metabolic activity. For salt, it is consuming ‘plant-derived organic mineral salt’ and avoiding ‘non-plant-derived inorganic mineral salts’. This will lead to a healthier and more rewarding life. While salt with high potassium content becomes a health threat as it does in functional salts, salt also becomes a problem if it contains too little potassium, as it does in refined or sea salts. That is why it is imperative that healthy salt contains the proper amount of potassium and maintains the perfect sodium to potassium ratio. The balance of minerals in salt is crucial.

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There are many wonderful plant based sources of sodium that you can get directly from the plant. Natural sources of sodium. You just have to look up how much sodium is in what you are eating. There will be different amounts for different foods but remember that almost everything will have some amount of sodium. Make sure to properly balance your diet as to avoid these health problems and pains.

Categories: Nutrition

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