Sodium can be found in almost everything we eat, and it is important to know how it effects our body. The concern, is that the vast majority of Americans are exceeding the recommended amount of sodium. Large amounts of sodium can do serious damage, like causing your body to retain water, high blood pressure, and eventually leading to more serious conditions. There are simple ways to avoid extra sodium in your diet. Learning what they are, is the first step to preventing these conditions.
Benefits of sodium
There is not many benefits of sodium, but it is an important necessity for our body. It is an ingredient that we should have in our diet in moderation. The benefit of sodium, is that it maintains water levels in our cells, and helps our nerves and muscles function properly.
Most of the effects from sodium are not noticeable. Sometimes though, if large amounts of sodium is consumed, our body will begin to retain water. When the body retains water, it may result in body parts swelling(usually your hands and feet).
Long term effects
Consuming excessive amounts of sodium as we age may eventually lead to high blood pressure. This is also known as hypertension, which can lead to very serious conditions. Some of these conditions are heart disease, kidney failure, and even strokes. Hypertension can also affect organs like your brain and your eyes. Due to the negative effects sodium has on calcium absorption, women are at risk of osteoporosis. Studies show that following low sodium guidelines can drastically cut chances of strokes, heart disease, heart attacks, and even death.
Ways to avoid high sodium
When trying to avoid high amounts of sodium we need to be careful with packaged and canned items. They are packed with sodium, due to its preservative needs. Also, processed foods like enriched cheeses and breads are foods to watch out for. It is very important to check labels and facts on every item you pick up. Shopping in the produce section and cooking at home, are a couple of recommended ways to avoid unwanted sodium.
Eating natural foods gives us the right amount of sodium without adding anything to it. Avoiding processed and packaged foods as much as we can, will help us avoid harmful side effects. Try tracking your sodium intake for a day. If you stay within 1500 and 2400 mg of sodium you are doing great! Just for good luck, toss that salt shaker over your shoulder, and leave it there!
Benefits & Long term effects: