July 11, 2022 2 min read

While sodium usually gets a bad rap, it is a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for health. It helps to regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance, and plays a role in muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. While sodium is necessary for good health, it is important to consume it in moderation, as too much can have harmful effects. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits and risks of sodium, and provide tips on how to include it in your diet!

Benefits

This is essential for retaining water, keeping your blood pressure up, and supporting various cell functions. When sodium is introduced to the body, it begins to draw water into the bloodstream. This process of osmosis can actually hydrate the blood faster than water alone can. Not only does sodium help hydrate the blood, it also helps maintain hydration outside the cell (extracellular fluid). Improper balance of either in the cells and outside the cells can lead to conditionslike liver disease, pulmonary edema, and dehydration. Therefore, balanced sodium consumption is critically important for health and hydration.

Risks

Unfortunately, most Americans have a diet that over does it. Too much sodium can draw too much water resulting in high blood pressure, it can lead to dehydration as the body expends extra energy trying to rid itself of the excess salt, and it can increase risk of heart attack. So how should you gage what your body needs?

Best Practices

You can use a rough estimate used by the American Heart Association, which is no more than 1500mg of sodium per day. Or you can use the 10% rule. You can consume 1000mg of sodium for every 100 pounds of body weight. Just remember, balance is key and for most Americans, less is more.