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Sodium Alert! Why is Sodium bad?

November 19, 2010

Okay Sodium doesn’t have a lot to do with fashion, especially vintage fashion but you have to excuse me as I climb to the top of a mountain and scream, WATCH OUT FOR THE SODIUM!

No I haven’t gone crazy, not quite anyway.  One of the things I do is write articles, and recently I’ve been writing a whole batch on weight loss and muscle building.  In doing this I learn so much about subjects that I previously only have known a limited amount.  Most of us have dieted at one time or another, have adopted a healthier lifestyle, but over my 33 years of life I have never, ever, ever, acknowledged the existence of sodium.

Now with a little education behind me I thought I would check out the sodium that my family and I ate, just to see how much we have.  GASP I was SHOCKED.  Two slices of bread with Vegemite was 25% of my daily allowance.  A tub of ‘healthy’ soup for lunch contained 62% of my daily allowance.  Add to this some crackers for morning tea and by early afternoon that I had had my entire daily allowance.  I felt like whining.. ‘but I eat healthy!’.

I suppose I should step back a moment and tell those of you, who are like me and don’t already know why Sodium is so bad for you.  This excerpt is from Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now – Mayo Clinic:

Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine.

But if for some reason your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced.

You do need sodium, but the damage of over doing it is huge.  For me I guess I never realised just how much salt was in everything we eat.

Image from Mayo Clinic

There is talk that sodium will cause you to gain weight as well.  This is true, but it is temporary weight in most cases.  If you don’t drink enough water to flush out the sodium your body will start storing water which can cause your weight to increase and your body to swell.

The good news is that by reducing your sodium you will immediately start to look better and feel better.  Given that according to the Mayo Clinic article the primary source of our sodium intake is through processed foods and that is backed up by this image they use to show it in a percentage form, one way to decrease your sodium levels is to eat less processed foods.  I for one will be thinking twice before I buy another microwave soup for my lunch!

So celebrate my adding a new category to our blog posting ‘Health and Well Being’ by seeing how much sodium you consume in one day!  Approximately 2,300 mg per day is healthy for an adult, however if you are older, have high blood pressure or other issues you should consume less than 1,500 mg.

Let me know how you do!

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