Why Your Blood Needs Sodium (Find Out Here)
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Your body relies on sodium for many things, including regulating blood pressure, keeps our body hydrated and eases muscle cramps.
But what is the point in adding sodium to your diet?
The blood needs sodium to stay healthy. Sodium balances fluid levels in the body which can help your digestive system, regulate kidney function, and more.
This post will focus on sodium, it’s importance and why your blood needs this nutrient.
What does sodium do in the blood?
Sodium is a mineral and most of it in our foods comes from salt. We all need a little sodium to stay healthy.
However, eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The good news is that cutting down on sodium can help lower your blood pressure or keep it at healthy levels.
Your blood needs small amounts of sodium to:
- Maintain balance in bodily fluids
- Reduce high acidity
- Keep your heart and muscles working well
- Regulate blood pressure
- Maintain the right amounts of blood needed for circulation
- Help the kidney function properly
What are the sources of sodium?
Many foods in their natural state contain some sodium. But the largest amount of sodium comes from processed, packaged and restaurant foods.
Pay attention to food labels, because they tell how much sodium is in food products. For example: foods with 140 mg or less sodium per serving are considered low in sodium.
Sodium levels of the same type of food can vary widely.
Before choosing foods from the store compare the nutrition facts labels and select the products with the lowest amount of sodium per serving.
Some over-the-counter and prescription medicines also contain lots of sodium. Ask your pharmacist about the sodium in your medicines.
Make reading the labels of all over-the-counter drugs a habit too.
Benefits of reduced sodium in the blood:
- Reduced risk of gastro-esophageal cancer
- Reduced left ventricular mass
- Preserved bone mass
What foods provides sodium?
Dishes with many ingredients like pizza, casseroles, burgers, tacos, and sandwiches tend to have ingredients that are high in sodium.
There are other healthier options you can choose to limit sodium quantities in your blood. They include:
- Skinless chicken
- Lean meats
- Unsalted nuts
- Frozen vegetables without sauce
Why Your Blood Needs Low Sodium (Know The Reasons)
Recommended intakes of low sodium is good for your blood, and it is beneficial to your health due to some reasons.
1. Maintains Blood Pressure Levels
Taking the right amounts of sodium regulates blood pressure.
An updated systematic review of studies where salt containing sodium was reduced by 4.4 g/day for at least four weeks found that systolic blood pressure was reduced by 4mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2mmHg.
2. Proper Kidney Function
Kidney is the primary regulator of sodium balance and plays a central role in long-term blood pressure regulation. Sodium helps the kidney by excreting waste such as chloride and sulfate salts that are stored for longer periods.
3. Water and Fluid Balance
Sodium controls fluid movements, maintains the right amounts of water in your body and keeps the pH balanced.
If your blood is thicker than normal, sodium reduces viscosity to help blood flow.
When blood is too acidic, eating dietary sodium neutralizes the acidity and maintains the pH at 7.0.
This prevents acidosis from occurring. However, sodium is not good for people with:
- Heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
How much sodium do you need?
We all need a small amount of sodium to keep our bodies working properly.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting
sodium to less than 2300 mg per day.
Individuals who are 51 and older and those of any age who are having hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should limit intake to 1500 mg of sodium per day.
How much should I take?
Key recommendations of sodium for the age ranges between adults and children.
- Adults 22-40yrs: 2300 mg/day
- Children 9-13yrs: less than 2200 mg/day
- Children 4-8yrs: 1900 mg/day
- Children 2-3yrs: 1500 mg/day
Side effects of sodium
When the levels of sodium in your blood is too high, this leads to hypernatremia.
Causes of hypernatremia includes:
- Excessive dehydration
- Kidney dysfunction
- Taking diuretics
- Not drinking enough water
- Frequent urination
Sodium is necessary for maintaining the right amount of water content in different parts of the body.
It helps with the transmission of nerve impulses, regulates blood pressure and makes muscle contraction possible.
Without enough sodium, the body could also become susceptible to infection.
In short, sodium deficiency can lead to a whole host of health problems.