Sodium is an important part of one’s diet as it contributes to balancing of electrolytes, prevents edema and regulates blood pressure.
Although natural foods have small quantities of sodium we love adding more in form of sodium chloride (salt) to make our meals tastier. This is rather unfortunate because excess salt is dangerous for health but on the flipside inadequate sodium in your system will also cause problems.
How much sodium should you actually eat?
How much sodium should you actually eat? This is a common question indicating just how much confusion there is around the subject. According to the American Heart Association you shouldn’t exceed 1500mg of sodium per day. You can achieve this goal by cutting back on salty snacks and reducing the amount of table salt in your food. It might be difficult at first but less salt in your body could save you from blood pressure and heart problems. While 1500mg is the recommended amount of sodium, athletes and people who sweat a lot might require more.
If you use a teaspoon to measure salt at home, this breakdown should be of help:
· 1/4 teaspoon=575mg
· 1/2 teaspoon=1150mg
· 3/4 teaspoon=1725 mg
· 1 teaspoon=2300mg
The American Heart Association agrees that it might not be easy to reduce salt intake to less than a teaspoon each day but if people cut salt to at most 2400 mg the results will be inspiring. There will be reduced incidences of heart attacks or high blood pressure owing to a good balance in electrolytes. It is easy to keep track of salt consumed by noting all foods eaten throughout the day.
It is extremely rare to hear of problems caused by inadequate sodium intake as the little amounts needed are already present in food. Symptoms of sodium deficiency include apathy, feelings of weakness, nausea and cramps which can be averted using a sodium pill.
Terms describing sodium levels in food
If you must buy processed foods, watch out for the following terms on the packages to help you know exactly how much sodium you are getting:
· Light in sodium – sodium has been cut by 50%
· Reduced sodium – means that the food contains 25% less sodium per serving than usual.
· Low sodium – Contains 140 mg or less per serving.
· Very low sodium – A single serving will give you 35 mg or less.
We clearly need sodium to stay healthy but as with any other nutrient, moderation is important. Take no less or more than what you need to maintain optimal blood pressure and keep heart problems at bay.