Health A-Z
Mon, 11/17/2014 - 00:35
How much sodium is too much?.

Sodium is one of the most crucial minerals needed by our body for functioning normally. If you are in the impression that sodium is a culprit that has a hand in deteriorating your health then it is important for you to know that sodium does benefit our body in several ways. It helps in retaining water, stimulates muscle contraction, and aids in proper digestion of food.

Yes sodium does have some negative effects when taken in excess but is sodium the actual culprit or we....Think again.

It is we who choose our food and we need to do it correctly. The super market shelves endorse a lot of processed and packaged products that lure us. We are busy people with no time for wholesome cooking. This indeed adds on to our list of excuses for buying those sodium loaded ready to eat or ready to cook foods and as a result we end up consuming sodium in much higher quantity then what is actually required. Our bodies’ do grant us excuse for putting in a sodium burden for sometime but then repeated mistakes are not forgiven. This is when our body starts signalling us to stop consuming blindly and think for a remedy or a newer lifestyle approach.


A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Most of us consume more salt than we need. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.3 grams (2,300 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking, at the table and those sodium products used as preservatives or additives in processed foods. Below are the ways of reducing salt and hence, sodium intake:

• Check Your Food Labels: Most packaged food like soup powders, baked products, dehydrated or frozen foods, canned or pureed fruits and vegetables, etc. clearly mention the amount of sodium used which most of us fail to read. So read before you buy.

• Keep Your Palate Distracted: Cut down on the habit of adding excessive amount of table salt by distracting your taste buds using flavoring that can easily overcome the saltiness and enhance the taste to such an extent that you don’t feel like adding salt. This includes using flavored herbs and simple additions like lemon juice. The more the seasoning, lesser would be your dependence on salt.

• Interpret Foods Better: Many a times a food advertised to be a low calorie food may not be necessarily healthy if it has a higher content of sodium as flavoring agent or preservative which is done to ensure that the customer is overwhelmed by the taste of the food. Thus the need is to choose food correctly and wisely and not by the gimmicks of the advertisements.

• Balance Your Salt Intake: If your kidneys are working perfectly then you can play a trick to balance your high intake of sodium by consuming potassium rich foods like colored fruits and vegetables but then don’t make this a habit too. Spare on the kidneys.

• Keep Yourself Well-Hydrated: Drink at least 10-12 glasses of plain water as it helps in eliminating sodium from body via urine, but then don’t drink too much of mineralized or softened water as these packaged varieties of water are known to contain a reasonable amount of sodium.

Compiled by: Team, Health Sanctuary