what are side effects of sodium consumption?
That is a very good question,
Salt plays a very important part in our body. Salt is a molecule containing Na (Sodium) and Cl (Chloride).
Most importantly Sodium regulates fluids in our body. The amount and the pressure in the veins regulates cells nutrients uptakes. Sodium also helps to regulate pH (acid-base level) in the body. Sodium plays an important role in transmitting nerve signals for muscle contraction and other body functions.
Chloride plays an important role for the digestion, the natural acidic fluid in the stomach that helps to break down molecules of food to enable them to be absorbed by the body. Salt (NaCl) plays an important role in the body, and can’t be produced by the body, so it has to come from the diet. The problem is with salt that, as everything, too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
Average Sodium intake by American ranges between 3000-4500mg/day (130-195 mEq Na or 8-10 g of Sodium Chloride). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an intake of less than 2300mg of Sodium, which is equivalent of 6g of table salt (NaCl) each day.
High salt intake is linked to several health conditions:
1. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): High Sodium causes vessels to widen, reducing the resistance the blood experience as it flows.
2. Osteoporosis: High Salt intake is also associated with osteoporosis (bone weakening). That is because increased salt in the body causes increased Calcium excretion in the urine. Calcium, of course, is very important for the bone strength.
3. Stomach Cancer: Excessive salt consumption is linked to Stomach Cancer. Although not all the molecular basis was not confirmed yet, the epidemiological studies found this association.
So, how to reduce salt consumption? First of all, it is important to realize that majority of salt in Americans comes from processed foods. It would be a good idea to reduce processed foods consumption, and switch to low Sodium diets. There are also several programs on-line that can help to track your Sodium and Calories intake.
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