Sodium is an electrolyte crucial for the body. It is responsible for retaining water and maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. It is electrically charged, and along with potassium helps maintain nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and several other functions. The body can not function without sodium.
Now, sodium is one of those things you have to be very careful with. If you exceed your sodium consumption (which is really common) you have risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, calcium loss, swelling, weight gain (in water), cellulite etc. The reason for this is because each gram of sodium retains 5 g. water, so when you exceed the amount your body retains a lot of liquid.
The ideal is to opt for natural sources of sodium, excess is always hidden in processed foods. One of the main sources of sodium is salt. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride, so keep lower the salt intake, use it very sparingly, and if it’s sea salt or pink salt the better! Now, it is important to look for terms beyond salt. Monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate and sodium alginate are some of the ingredients that tell you if a food is high in sodium.
Always check the labels of packaged and processed foods and keep in mind these numbers:
– Sodium free: must have less than 5 mg. of sodium per serving.
– Very low in sodium: 35 mg. or less.
– Less sodium: must be 25% less than the original version, it does not mean it is low in sodium.
– Low sodium: no more than 150 mg.
Try to consume no more than 1500 mg a day.