Health BENEFITS of Sodium:
- works closely with potassium to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance
- monitors the electrical activity of the heart
- helps regulate blood volume and blood pressure
- required for proper nerve conduction and muscle contraction
- helps with the absorption of amino acids, glucose, and water
- promotes stable blood pH levels
- helps produce hydrochloric acid for proper digestion
Foods HIGH in Sodium (natural):
- beet greens
- sea vegetables
- Swiss chard
Things to KNOW About Sodium:
Sodium, along with the other five essential minerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium), are also classified as electrolytes, chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water. The electricity generated by electrolytes helps with the communication between the cells and supports many bodily functions.
Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining water balance in the body by monitoring the balance of fluids inside the cells (intracellular) and outside the cells (extracellular). Maintaining fluid balance between these two environments is critically important for hydration, nutrient absorption, heart function, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, blood pressure, brain function, blood pH levels, and detoxification.
Staying hydrated and eating foods high in essential minerals will ensure that you maintain a healthy electrolyte balance. An electrolyte imbalance can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, weakness, thirst, nausea, confusion, irregular heartbeat, or stomach pain. Consequently, it's important to replenish the electrolytes lost through extensive exercise or heavy sweating.
Table salt (sodium chloride) is the most common form of sodium in the diet. However, the majority of salt in the diet is not being added at the table. More than 75% of salt in the average American diet comes from the salt added to foods during processing and manufacturing.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a sodium intake of less than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) per day, the amount needed to replace losses through daily sweat. However most Americans consume more than 3,400 milligrams (1 1/2 teaspoons) of sodium per day, mostly hidden in processed and packaged foods.
The body requires more potassium than sodium, so a diet higher in potassium and lower in sodium helps maintain a healthy fluid balance and lowers blood pressure. Consuming mostly whole foods from the earth that are naturally lower in sodium and higher in potassium can help you maintain this healthy balance.