Sodium or salt is seen in almost everything we eat and drink.
It is found naturally in many foods and added to others during manufacturing. Mainly, it is used as a flavoring agent at home and in restaurants.
Sodium has been linked to hypertension, causing damage to blood vessels and arteries when chronically heightened. It can elevate the risk of heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, and stroke. To avoid these conditions, health authorities have set guidelines for sodium intake. But these guidelines have not been really helpful because not everyone can benefit from a low-sodium diet.
Importance for Health
Undoubtedly, sodium is a vital nutrient for good health, and it is one of your body’s electrolytes, minerals forming electrically charged ions in your body. A significant sodium source in most diets is salt or sodium chloride.
Sodium in your body resides in your blood and the fluid encircling your cells, keeping these fluids in equilibrium. Besides maintaining fluid balance, sodium also plays a vital role in regular nerve and muscle function.
Moreover, kidneys regulate the body’s sodium levels by accommodating the excreted amount in your urine. Sodium can also be discharged through sweating.
In general, sodium is an essential nutrient for health, administers proper nerve and muscle function, and allows your body to maintain normal fluid balance.
Sodium & High Blood Pressure
It has been seen sodium increases blood pressure in some people. Experts believe that the connection between sodium and high blood pressure was first recognized in France in 1904.
Researchers have established a strong connection between excessive sodium intake and high blood pressure since then.
Researchers analyzed the sodium levels in the urine of more than 100,000 people from 18 countries. They found that people who took more sodium had significantly higher blood pressure.
However, not all people react to sodium in the same way.
People with hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and older age tend to be more sensitive to the hypertension effects of sodium. Moreover, if someone is sensitive to salt, restricting sodium intake is recommended by doctors.
In general, sodium elevates blood pressure, which affects some people more than others. Thus, sodium intake should always be monitored and taken in instructed doses. However, it is always better to consult professionals for better guidance. Book an appointment with the best Cardiologist in Lahore through Marham for more information.
Risks of Underconsumption
Some studies have suggested that decreasing sodium intake to the recommended levels may be harmful to some people. Thus, the question do I need to be adding sodium if normal blood pressure is debatable. In a review study of people with and without high blood pressure, researchers analyzed how sodium intake impacted the chances of heart disease and early death.
The review demonstrated that people who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day were more likely to have heart disease or die regardless of their blood pressure levels than people who consumed 4–5 grams.
Moreover, people who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day had worse health effects than those consuming 7 grams.
Nonetheless, researchers also found that people with hypertension who consumed more than 7 grams of sodium per day had a significantly greater risk of heart disease or death than those who took only 4–5 grams.
These results stated above suggest that too little sodium may also be more dangerous to health. The key is to find a balance that works for you. You can not stop taking sodium out of teh blue; neither can you take it in excess.
Should Sodium Intake be Limited?
People with hypertension consuming more than 7 grams of sodium a day should undoubtedly consume less.
Likewise, if your dietitian has instructed you to limit your sodium intake for medical reasons, you should switch to a low-sodium therapeutic diet. On the other hand, cutting back on sodium does not make much difference for healthy people with normal blood pressure.
Studies demonstrate that those who consume less than 3 grams of sodium per day are at a higher risk of heart disease and early death than those taking 4–5 grams. It has raised many controversies, and people get confused about their consumption percentile.
Sodium is an essential nutrient needed by your body for many vital functions. People with hypertension should not exceed 7 grams per day, but if you do not have any health condition, your current amount is probably safe.