Health Benefits of Sodium
Sodium is considered both an electrolyte and a mineral. There are many benefits to having an adequate sodium balance in the body. Many people can overdo sodium, or avoid it entirely, but it’s one of the essential minerals for the body. It’s possible to learn about the best sources of sodium for optimum health benefits, and to be aware of sodium deficiency symptoms.
What Is the Recommended Daily Amount of Sodium ? (1)
What Are the Sources of Sodium? (2)
Sodium is present in nearly all types of foods, but some have more than others. Sodium can be purchased as a table salt to be added to food before or after cooking. It’s present in canned or preserved meats. Most frozen packaged dinner entrees have salt as one of the ingredients, and canned dinners too. It’s also present in cheese, salted nuts, and any canned vegetables that list salt in the ingredients. Sports and energy drinks may have sodium added.
What Are Common Sodium Deficiency Symptoms?
Sodium deficiency is called hyponatremia—abnormal condition of lowered salt in the blood. Generally, this occurs when a person has been vomiting, working out for too long, or been in the hot sun for a long length of time. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, memory loss, confusion, muscle spasms and cramps. Over time it can lead to coma.
What Are the Health Benefits of Sodium?
- Sodium has many benefits for the body. Its chemical element is Na. It’s naturally a soft silver-white metal, but is sold in crystallized form as salt in the supermarkets. Since most foods contain sodium, the body can adequately utilize the amounts needed for healthy body function. Many people enjoy the taste of salt, so it’s simple to maintain normal levels in the body.
- It aids in balancing the fluid in the body, particularly in and outside the cells. It also aids in electrolyte balance function. Muscles and nerves also utilize sodium for optimum functioning.
- About 85% of the sodium in the body is present in the lymph fluids and blood. Sodium levels are controlled by a hormone called aldosterone. Malfunction of the hormone can lead to sodium deficiencies.
- Aldosterone helps to tells the kidneys when it’s necessary to keep sodium in the body, rather than expelling it through urine. The body also loses a small amount of sodium through the skin as it sweats. People who work out, or who live in hotter climates may lose more sodium in the day, so will need more than people in cooler climates.
- Sodium is one of the essential electrolytes, along with potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, and phosphate. People who suffer from diarrhea or excessive fluid loss can benefit from an electrolyte supplement containing sodium. This will help the body to quickly recover, and to help them feel better more rapidly.
- Sodium also affects the blood pressure levels of the body. Often too little causes low blood pressure, while too much causes high blood pressure. It can be simple enough to adjust your diet so you experience the optimum benefits.