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Facts about Sodium

What is Sodium?

Sodium is a macro mineral. Minerals help us grow and function properly. Sodium is also an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a mineral that is found in our body fluids ( blood, tissue, urine), which helps with balancing our bodies' pH, blood pressure and water. The electrolyte also helps rebuild our bodies' tissues and hydrates us. We need a small amount of sodium to be and stay healthy. Sodium helps our nerves pass messages throughout our bodies from the brain. Sodium helps our cells to take in nutrients and water. Sodium also helps our muscles contract and relax movements and helps balance our body fluids and blood pressure.

There are different forms of sodium. One of them is sodium chloride ( table salt). There are others such as monosodium glutamate ( MSG), sodium nitrite, sodium bicarbonate ( baking soda), sodium saccharin and sodium benzoate. These sodium forms are the kinds that are added to the foods that we eat. Monosodium glutamate(MSG) is used to enhance the flavour in the foods that we eat, while sodium nitrite is used in cured meat. Sodium bicarbonate is used in baking, and to relieve heartburn and acid indigestion. Sodium saccharin is used to sweeten foods and drinks, and sodium benzoate is used to extend the shelf life of foods.

Potato chips have a lot of sodium in them

Potato chips have a lot of sodium in them

Foods Filled of Sodium

Our bodies don't naturally produce sodium. We need to eat food to get the sodium that we need. We can get our sodium naturally. We can eat bread and rolls, sauces such as soy sauce, avocados, pizza, poultry, sandwiches, mangoes, papaya, apples, pineapples, bananas, pasta dishes, tomato, carrots, cucumbers, dill pickles, bell pepper, radish, cabbage, broccoli, celery, milk and beets to get the sodium that we need.

There are foods that have sodium added inside. Foods such as soups, canned fish, cheese, ham, bacon, and sausages have sodium added. Fast foods, doughnuts, and cookies also have sodium in them. Even the water that we drink has sodium in it.

Doughnuts, cookies and other packaged sweets are great sources of sodium

Doughnuts, cookies and other packaged sweets are great sources of sodium

We need sodium in our bodies. It is possible to not have enough sodium in our bodies. When we don't have enough sodium that we need, we can experience hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when we have very low sodium in our bloodstream. There are many reasons why one has hyponatremia. Usually, this is linked to drinking too much water. Drinking too much water can cause the sodium in our bodies to decrease and the cells in our bodies to swell. When our cells start to swell, this causes serious health problems. We can experience symptoms such as muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of energy, drowsiness, fatigue, coma, seizures, muscle weakness, spasms, restlessness, irritability, diarrhea, kidney malfunction, shock, and even death.

When we have too much sodium in our bodies, we can experience hypernatremia. Hypernatremia is when we have too much sodium in our bloodstream. Usually, not consuming enough fluids such as water is the reason behind hypernatremia. Although there are other reasons one can have hypernatremia. We can experience nausea, vomiting, weakness, loss of appetite, intense thirst, confusion, kidney damage, kidney stones, high blood pressure, heart failure, and liver damage.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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