Sodium- Are you too salty?
The amount of sodium needed to maintain normal body functions in adults is <500mg (1). But the national daily average is 3,400mg (2).
Sodium is an essential component to life, but when we take in more than we should, we can develop problems.
Excess sodium increases blood pressure, especially in salt sensitive groups such as the elderly, African-Americans, and those with chronic kidney disease or hypertension (1).
Sodium is an electrolyte that causes fluid retention with excess intakes. That can increase blood volume and even hypertension over time (2).
Hypertension damages the arteries, heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes (2).
Even when sodium does not cause increased blood pressure it still negatively affects the vasculature system, heart, kidneys, and some parts of the brain (1).
Excess sodium can disrupt the extracellular fluid in the brain and promote neuron excitability which can cause migraines. However, reduction of dietary sodium can reduce the incidence of migraines (3).
The AHA ideal limit for sodium intake is less than 1,500mg/day and no more than 2,300mg/day (4).
In people with blood pressure or heart problems, improvements can be seen when sodium is reduced to 1,000mg/day (4).
Reduction of salt intake has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease by 20% and stroke events by 73% (1).
Over 70% of dietary sodium comes from prepackaged processed foods. Use the Nutrition Facts label as a toll for your health! Pay close attention to the serving size and % sodium (2).
The FDA says that 5% DV or less of sodium/serving is low- eat more of these foods!
20% DV or more of sodium is high- stay away from these foods. The more you can eat unprocessed foods the better, because most whole foods do not naturally contain sodium (2).
Here is a high sodium food with 40% of the DV of sodium ^^^^^^^^^
Just one teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300mg of sodium -which is the upper limit
Replacing sodium after a period of sweating is very important to avoid cramps and promote normal muscle function, but be mindful of your sodium intake in your normal eating times!
1. Farquhar WB, Edwards DG, Jurkovitz CT, Weintraub WS. Dietary sodium and health: more than just blood pressure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(10):1042‐1050. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.12.039
3. Pogoda JM, Gross NB, Arakaki X, Fonteh AN, Cowan RP, Harrington MG. Severe Headache or Migraine History is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004. Headache. 2016;56(4):688‐698. doi:10.1111/head.12792