Sodium and our health. What we need to know.

Sodium is not one of the minerals that the body needs in large amounts. The body needs very little of it. The body needs less than 2300mg of sodium a day to function well.

In reality keeping, this limit is very difficult.

Sodium attracts and retains water. This increases the volume of blood and makes the heart do more work to pump the increased volume of blood. If this continues, it leads to raised blood pressure or hypertension.

Hypertension is a slow killer that causes many diseases of the heart and blood vessels. These diseases cause serious disability and even death.

Sodium and salt! What is the difference?

While sodium is found in salt and other salty foods, they are not the same. Salt is one of the sources of sodium. Salt is sodium chloride.

Other sources of sodium are:

1. Food taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate

2. Food preservatives like Sodium acetate, Sodium benzoate, sodium lactate, sodium nitrate, etc

3. Baking additives like baking soda and baking powder which contain sodium bicarbonate

This is why food preparation and processing are the main sources of sodium in our diets. We get sodium from the food we prepare at home, pastries, cereals,   processed meats, etc

Each of these foods may not contain so much sodium on its own. But as we munch away on these foods in a day, the amount of sodium we are eating gradually increases.

Let’s picture this;

1. Breakfast: sandwich or cereal

2. Lunch: a pepperoni pizza

3. Dinner: cold cuts and baked potatoes

4. Snack: cupcakes or meat pie

From this, we can watch the sodium build up in our bodies.

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