Benefits & Side Effects of High Sodium Intake

High Sodium Intake
13 Oct 2021
6 mins
Table Of Content
Benefits & Side Effects of High Sodium Intake

    Sodium intake is vital for the proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system. It prevents the occurrence of low blood pressure, which is dangerous for the heart. It is crucial to maintain adequate sodium levels in your body as its deficiency could disrupt the functioning of vital organs.


    We need a minimum of 500mg of sodium intake per day for our body to perform its vital functions. Too little or too high sodium intake could harm your heart health. Read further to know the benefits of sodium and risks associated with a high sodium diet.


    Benefits of sodium in diet


    The ideal sodium intake per day is 1500mg to 2300mg. Almost 90% of sodium in your diet is achieved through the salt intake. 


    Salt is an essential component in food as it provides flavour, preservation and safety. It has the ability to suppress the bitterness and unpleasant taste of various vegetables and meats. Including salt in food improves sensory properties. 


    One of the chief benefits of sodium intake is the enhanced functioning of enzymes and muscles. It improves heart performance, glucose absorption and nerve health.


    High sodium intake helps to retain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. It is an essential nutrient controlled by your kidneys and plays an essential role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. The body requires only a small quantity of sodium. 


    Sodium is constantly exchanged outside and inside the cell compartments to maintain the fluid balance. It helps in the absorption of minerals, glucose and water by the intestine and kidneys.


    Adding salt to your food prevents the bacteria from surviving. Usually, physicians recommend a high sodium diet for patients who have high cholesterol, triglyceride levels and type 2 diabetes. Insufficient amounts of sodium lead to insulin resistance, which is a nightmare for diabetes patients.


    Side effects of high sodium diet


    Although the recommended sodium intake is less than one teaspoon a day, people tend to consume more quantities through salt and foods high in sodium content. This amount is much more than what our body requires. A high sodium intake draws water into your blood, subsequently increasing blood volume and blood pressure. 


    When water is retained in the body, it leads to puffiness, bloating and weight gain. A high force of blood flow for a long time can harm the arteries and organs. More blood volume increases workload on the heart and pressure on blood vessels. Uncontrolled pressure results in heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, etc.


    Researchers have published their findings stating the link between high sodium diet and heart problems. When you consume low sodium foods, your kidney function improves, your arteries become less stiff, and your blood vessels relax. Too much sodium also leads to the elimination of calcium, sometimes from the bones.


    Foods that contain a high quantity of sodium:


    Many foods naturally contain sodium, but a considerable quantity is present in processed and canned foods. Some of them include:

    • Bread and sandwiches
    • Pizza
    • Soup
    • Canned vegetables
    • Cheese
    • Buttermilk
    • Frozen foods
    • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
    • Barbeque sauce and soy sauce
    • Instant and ready-to-eat foods
    • Chips, popcorn
    • Chicken
    • Eggs and omelette


    How to consume sodium in safe quantities:


    Sodium may be present in many foods that do not even taste like salt. One of the simplest methods of controlling high sodium intake is through reducing high calorie consumption. This method promotes weight loss which, in turn, lowers blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, you should not consume more than 7 grams of sodium per day.


    Refer to the above list of foods to know if you are consuming high amounts of sodium. Pay close attention to food labels to be aware of the amount per serving. Foods that contain below 140 mg per serving is considered to be low in sodium. If you have been consuming more foods belonging to the above list, you might need to look for other alternatives.


    While preparing food at home, try to add less salt and more spices. Salt is not the only source of sodium. Most sodium content is present in processed foods, readymade dishes, meat products, bread, cheese, grains, cereals, etc. When purchasing food from shops, read the nutritional label to know the exact quantity of sodium per serving.


    Almost all unprocessed foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meat and dairy foods have low sodium. Fruits and vegetables contain other important minerals like potassium and magnesium. You can lower the risk of heart problems by eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of bread, cheese and other processed foods.


    Written by
    BhairaviContent Writer
    AboutPharm D
    Tags :High sodiumsodium in diethigh sodium foodsheart health