Sodium is a vital electrolyte and an indispensable ion found in the ECF (extracellular fluid). It plays a huge role in maintaining the overall health of individuals by participating in muscle contraction and enzyme operations.
Sodium is needed for fluid maintenance and osmoregulation within the body. Other important health benefits of sodium consumption include:
• Improved heart functioning
• Better glucose absorption
• Enhanced nervous system operation
Moderate sodium consumption
Common (table) salt is made up of 40% sodium. So the main source of sodium in the diet is table salt. There is about 2,300 mg of sodium in a single teaspoon of salt. This is also the maximum recommended intake per day for a healthy adult. Those who suffer from a high blood pressure condition need to restrict their sodium consumption to 1,500 mg daily. It is vital to remember that several food products, particularly, pre-packed processed foods, contain large amounts of sodium.
Below are some of the important health benefits of moderate sodium consumption:
Recovery from sunstroke
Sunstroke happens when there is a loss of water and salt from your body. As a result of this, the normal body temperature is disrupted because of consistent exposure to extremely high temperatures. Health experts suggest that sodium can help in the prevention of sunstroke. How? It replaces essential electrolytes that get eliminated from the body. Doctors recommend drinking high amounts of fluids that contain sugar and salt for providing relief in case of sunstroke.
Reducing/preventing muscle cramps
Muscle cramps occur mainly because of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This is very common during summer time. Sodium plays a significant role in hydration and muscle contraction. When you consume fluids and juices rich in sodium, it helps in restoring the electrolyte balance in your body.
Proper Brain Functioning
Another important function of sodium is related to brain development and improved brain functioning. When there is a change in the sodium levels of your body, it impacts the brain, causing confusion, lethargy, dizziness, and so on. Adequate sodium intake is necessary for the proper functioning of your brain.
Safety and side-effects
Even though sodium plays a very important role in a balanced diet, there are also some side-effects or risks associated with excessive sodium consumption. These include hypertension and stomach cancer.