Sodium

Benefits of Sodium

Eating a large amount of foods that are high in sodium can cause adverse effects such as gastric cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Foods that are high in sodium include: table salt, sea salt, and seaweed. Processed foods such as cured meats and potato chips contain very large amounts of sodium.

What is Sodium?

There are several sodium compounds, but the mostcommon is sodium chloride (salt). Sodium, in small quantities, is essential for human nutrition.

Function of Sodium:

The body needs a small amount of sodium in order to function properly. Sodium regulates blood pressure and blood volume. It is also critical for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Most natural foods contain small amounts of sodium. Individuals with high blood pressure/hypertension, congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease may need to be on low-sodium diets as prescribed by their physician. Several studies show that diets high in sodium are a major cause of high blood pressure and pre-hypertension. High blood pressure/hypertension significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Deficiency of Sodium:

Hyponatremia is the condition in which the body has a serum sodium concentration of less than 136 mmol/liter. Sodium deficiency is generally not a result of inadequate dietary intake, even for individuals on very low-salt diets. Causes of Hyponatremia include: excessive water intake, severe or prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, excessive and persistent sweating, the use of some diuretics, and some forms of kidney disease.

Symptoms of hyponatremia include: headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, fatigue, disorientation, and fainting. Severe and rapidly developing hyponatremia may result in any of the following complications: cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), seizures, coma, and brain damage. Without prompt and appropriate medical treatment, acute or severe hyponatremia may be fatal.

Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above. Therefore, it is important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.

Toxicity (Sodium Overdose):

Excessive intakes of salt may lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It can also lead to an increase in extracellular fluid volume as water is pulled from cells to maintain normal sodium concentrations. Individuals with high blood pressure/hypertension, congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney disease may need to be on low-sodium diets as prescribed by their physicians. Several studies show that diets high in sodium are a major cause of high blood pressure and pre-hypertension. High blood pressure/hypertension significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Caution: Eating natural foods that contain a moderate amount of sodium is the safest and healthiest way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient. Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable healthcare provider before starting doses of supplements. Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first consult with their pediatrician. Also, some supplements may interfere with medications. If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with your physician before taking any supplements. All supplements should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children’s reach.

Sodium Food Chart (List of Foods High in Sodium):

Per 100 g (3.5 oz) of Food
Kelp – (3007 mg)
Green Olives – (2400 mg)
Table Salt 1 tsp – (2132 mg)
Soy Sauce 1 tsp – (1319 mg)
Ripe Olives – (828 mg)
Cheddar Cheese – (700 mg)
Swiss Chard – (147 mg)
Beet Green – (130 mg)
Celery – (126 mg)
Eggs – (122 mg)
Cod – (110 mg)
Spinach – (71 mg)
Chicken – (64 mg)
Beef – (60 mg)
Betts – (60 mg)
Sesame Seeds – (52 mg)
Watercress – (50 mg)
Whole Cow’s Milk – (49 mg)
Carrots – (47 mg)
Parsley – (45 mg)

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