We got used to the suggestion that sodium is bad for us and everyone should avoid consuming it. However, this is not exactly right as the sodium deficiency may be very dangerous. Let’s see how to balance your sodium consumption.
In these days, people have become too concerned about sodium consumption. We got used to the suggestion that sodium is bad for our health and fitness in many ways, so it is better to reduce its amount in the food we eat as much as possible. But overdoing with this may cause sodium deficiency and this is quite dangerous.
The fact is that this condition is unlikely to occur in those, who eat enough healthy food every day. A little sodium is contained in all healthy products like vegetables and seafood. You are unlikely to become deficient in this nutrient even if you exclude salt from your diet completely. But still, let’s take a closer look at its nature and its possible consequences.
Some Facts About Sodium Deficiency
First thing to know: every day you lose some sodium with sweat. Yet, this amount is replaced by sodium contained in foods you eat. Sodium deficiency may occur in case when a common healthy diet is combined with daily intense exercises, making you sweat too much, or too hot weather. In this case, the condition may be prevented by drinking sports drinks with electrolytes.
Another possible cause of dangerous sodium deficiency is drinking too much water throughout the day. This condition is called hyponatremia and it is characterized by dangerously low sodium levels in blood. Its symptoms include muscle cramps, nausea, and dizziness. In the most severe cases, it may even lead to shock and coma. However, it should be noted that it is quite hard for a healthy young person to provoke this condition. For that, one needs to drink more than six gallons of water every day during some period. However, everything is different in those who suffer from some heart, liver, or kidney diseases. So, despite the common belief that the more water you drink throughout the day the better, it is necessary to consult a doctor to determine the exact healthy daily water consumption for you.
Why Is Sodium Deficiency Dangerous?
We’ve been told so much about the possible problems that may be caused by consuming too much sodium — from swelling and possible kidney problems to not being able to lose weight — that it is actually quite hard to remember that it is an essential nutrient.
We’ve already described the severe variation of sodium deficiency, which may lead to coma and even death. However, less severe variations of this condition may be unpleasant too. Sodium is an electrolyte, so it is a necessary element (along with potassium and chloride) in keeping your fluid levels balanced. Without enough sodium, your muscles won’t work right and you will suffer from convulsions. Also, sodium is necessary for healthy nervous system.
How To Prevent Sodium Deficiency?
As it was mentioned above, the only thing that a healthy adult needs to prevent sodium deficiency is to eat right. It is even not necessary to add salt to your meals as sodium is naturally contained in most products in healthy amounts.
According to studies, one needs about 1,500 mg per day to replace sodium that was lost with sweat. And this much can be easily obtained with food. For example, there is around 140mg sodium in a cup of milk and a stalk of celery has about 5mg. Though non-salted products are considered low in sodium, during the day they add up to the necessary 1,500mg.
And if you are not a big fan of healthy eating, you are even less likely to get sodium deficiency. When eating processed food, you can easily eat more than twice the healthy amount of sodium a day. And in its turn, this is quite dangerous for elder people or those suffering from high blood pressure.