22 Health Benefits of Sodium (No.4 Surprising You)
Sodium is sometimes assumed as a bad thing to avoid due its famous side effect in causing hypertension. However, lacking in sodium is also leading to a bad impact to your health. So the best way is to properly consume sodium in the right amount depending on your need. When consumed properly, sodium can stimulate muscle contraction while maintaining the fluid in your body. The most interesting is sodium can withstand heat, which means it can’t lose its great effect under cooking processes, unlike other vitamins and minerals. There are still many other great health benefits of sodium you can get simply by consuming the right amount of it.
- Preventing Muscle Cramps
During the summer months, feeling dehydrated is very normal. At this condition, you will be not only feeling tired and exhausted, but muscle cramps can also happen due to the imbalanced of electrolytes. By supplying your body with sodium, you can feel more hydrated while preventing cramps on your muscle.
- Balancing Ions
Sodium when consumed to your body usually doesn’t come alone, but this is completed with bicarbonate or chloride. For that reason, sodium can balance both the positive and negative charged ions.
- Regulating Fluids
As it is able to keep you hydrated, sodium is also excellent in regulating the fluid in your body. The fluid outside your body’s cells can be properly regulated by the proper amount of sodium in your body, preventing your body from experiencing water loss.
- Relieving Sunstroke
The feeling of discomfort on your skin after experiencing continuous sun exposures might be bothering. Many people might think that simply wearing sun block will protect your skin, but protection comes not only from the outside, but also from the inside. Your body is already able to keep the temperature normal even if you are under sun exposure as long as you supply it with the required nutrient. Sodium is needed when it comes to maintain the body’s normal temperature.
The fulfilled salt and water in the body will prevent you from suffering sunstrokes due to the sodium function in restoring the electrolytes in your body. However, it is also important to wear long sleeves and long skirts or trousers for outside protection. Before going out, drink water or juice added with salt to supply your body with required sodium intake.
- Balancing Water
There is a close connection between sodium and water balance in your body. As has been said before that sodium can restore electrolytes and regulate fluid, sodium also has a significant role in pumping water to the cells in your body.
- Maintaining Brain Function
There are many important nutrients needed by your brains, and sodium is one of them. Sodium helps developing the brain and maintains its function. When your brain is lacking of sodium, you can feel dizziness and confusion.
- Supporting Healthy Heart
Although sodium is mostly related with high blood pressure, the right amount of sodium is actually great in maintaining your heart’s health. Consuming enough sodium is important for your heart’s health, considering that sodium can regulate the nerve impulses, this provides a good impact to the heart. The nerve impulses have a correlation with the heart rhythm. When these impulses are well regulated, normal heart rhythm can be maintained too. Sodium can keep the heart contractions normal, resulting in a normal blood pressure. It is leading to hypertension when the intake is too much. So make sure you don’t supply your body with excessive sodium.
- Reducing Carbon dioxide
The accumulation of too much carbon dioxide in your body can he harmful, that is why you need to flush it out through your excretion by the help of sodium.
- Cleansing Teeth
Brushing your teeth is very important and you must do it several times daily to maintain the condition of your teeth. When not brushed or cleaned properly, your teeth can develop odor and accumulate plaques. Sodium chloride, which can be found from salt, is great for cleansing your mouth and teeth. If you want to clean your teeth and mouth with salt, use sea salt as your toothpaste.
Just dip your toothbrush into a small amount of sea salt and brush. If you find it too salty, just mix 4 oz. of warm water with a half teaspoon of sea salt. Let it mixed properly and rinse your mouth for around 30 seconds to remove the germs. Not only sea salt, baking soda can be also used as natural toothpaste for removing the bacteria inside your mouth simply by mixing it with water to create a paste consistency. Moreover, you can even whiten your teeth using the baking soda toothpaste alone or by mixing it with lemon and strawberry juice. Now you have better and more natural toothpaste for cleaning your beautiful teeth.
- Slowing Down Aging Signs
Free radicals make your skin aging, losing its youth. Most women use anti-aging creams to fight the signs of aging as they get older and you can find sodium as one of the ingredients of many of them. This is the sodium hyaluronate, which can help your skin more moisturized while preventing the early aging signs.
This kind of sodium is actually available in your skin when you are younger and this is also the reasons why your skin is supple and young. As people get older, the amount of sodium hyaluronate is decreasing, making the skin loosened and aged. For this reason, many anti-aging creams include this sodium for keep the skin moisturized.
- Helping Glucose Absorption
Glucose is needed in your body for transporting the nutrients in the cells, but when this is not absorbed properly, nutrient transportation can get distracted. Sodium helps the transportation smoother by helping the glucose absorption.
- Retaining Moisture
Not only used in anti-aging creams, sodium is also used in many skin care products due to its great ability in retaining moisture. When it is used in skin care products, it helps binding moisture to your skin, keeping it smooth and glowing. Sodium Pyroglutamic Acid or Sodium PCA is the one included in skin care ingredients because this ingredient is super hydrating, even stronger than glycerin, which has been used traditionally.
- Preventing Dryness
Health benefits of sodium for preventing dryness must consider for your concern. Still talking about the PCA in skincare, as it is good in binding water; dry skin can be prevented since your skin is maintaining its moisture.
- Controlling Kidney Reactions
Kidney reactions are influenced by acid-base alkali phosphates in your body. Consuming sodium can help altering them, so the kidney reactions can be controlled while regulating proper urine content and frequency.
- Inhibiting Pathogens’ Growth
You might be familiar with SLS ingredient used in shampoos, soaps and toothpastes. One of the reasons why this sodium is widely used is because its ability in inhibiting pathogens’ growth due to the anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. This is also used in baby care products since this is mild but it does have some effects to your skin, one of them is edema. SLS can reduce the function of your skin’s oily barrier, leading to dryness.
- Regulating Nerve Impulses
The nerve function influences many parts in your body include the muscles and brain. Sodium can regulate the impulses, which the verve system communicates to. With regulated nerve impulses, muscle contraction and the brain, even the heart can work as they should be.
- Regulating Blood Pressure
Consuming sodium should be tricky. When you do this too much, the level of blood pressure can increase. When it is consumed too low, the blood pressure will become too low too, resulting with dizziness. So make sure that you put the right amount of sodium intake daily for a good blood pressure regulation.
- Relieving Itchiness
Feeling itchy caused by insect bites can be relieved using sodium bicarbonate, the kind of sodium in baking soda. You can just simply apply the powder to your itchy skin or mix it with water to turn it into a paste. If you have itchy rashes, baking soda will also help because it neutralizes toxin on your skin, relieving the itchiness.
- Neutralizing Stomach Acid
Sodium bicarbonate or antacid is helpful in neutralizing stomach acid. This sodium is used in many over-the-counter products for relieving indigestion and heartburn due to its good function. However, antacid shouldn’t be used for children under 6 because usually such symptoms like indigestion happen in children might not be caused by stomach acid.
- Reducing Acidosis
Acidosis is a condition when your body is getting too much acid. This condition can be caused by several factors including kidney diseases since the kidney cant properly excrete the excessive acid, diarrhea because this condition makes the sodium bicarbonate in your body is decreasing too much, diabetes since ketones are accumulated in the body and after doing exercises when lactic acid buildup formed. These conditions can lead to acidosis and sodium bicarbonate can help reducing the excessive acid.
- Exfoliating Skin
If you need removing the dead skin cells for making it smoother and better, you can naturally use baking soda, which contain sodium bicarbonate. Just mix it with water to create a paste and use it to exfoliate your skin, body and face. This is a natural exfoliator that can be safer than the commercial ones.
- Treating Uneven Skin Tone
This great function of sodium bicarbonate in baking soda is amazing. Simply mixing it with water or rose water and apply it to your skin, one minute to sit and rinse afterwards, can help improving your skin complexion. Before washing off your face with lukewarm water, you need to rub the baking soda on your face first. Do this twice a week for a good result, and apply moisturizer to your skin after the treatment.
When we talk about sodium, it is closely related to salt. The consumption of salt is always connected with sodium amount as salt has a high level of sodium. The maximum intake of salt for adults is 7 grams, as a safe and good sodium supply.
- Seaweed Kelp and Wakame
Seaweed Kelp and Wakame have the highest amount of sodium compared to other sodium-rich foods. You can also find high sodium amount in other kinds of seafood such as lobsters, crabs, shrimps, oysters, and many others.
Sodium is also found in plant-based foods like fruits including olive, fresh figs, grapes, plums, bananas, grapefruit and star fruit. Some fruits, like pineapple and apple, when they turned to juice, are also containing to sodium since some preservatives and salt are added.
You might not know about this, but artichokes are rich in sodium. It provides around 150 milligrams from a large size. So if you want to add more sodium intake, you can include artichokes to your meals.
- Dairy Products
Naturally dairy products like cheese and milk already have sodium content, but today they are even added with preservatives and salt, which make them higher in sodium.
- Coconut Milk
There are many nutrients can be found in coconut milk, not only sodium but also protein, fat, calories and carbohydrates.
Having cereal as a breakfast is simple and easy. This is not only tasty, but this is also packed with high sodium, around 180 grams for only one serving of cereal. If you consume cereal, make sure to not eat it too much because the sodium amount already covered your 12 percent of sodium daily recommended intake.
- Salted Nuts
If you love snacking salted nuts, then you can get your sodium intake from there. The sodium amount is different depending on the type of the nuts. Pistachios have the lowest amount, compared to almonds and cashews since they only have 5 percent while cashews have 7 percent and almonds have 8 percent for every ounce.
- Other Vegetables
Not only artichoke, there are also some other vegetables that are rich in sodium such as spinach, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and many others.
Low Sodium Side Effect
- Neurological Symptoms
It has been said above that regulating the nerve impulses is one of the sodium roles. The nerve cells can communicate to each other when the sodium content in the body is adequate. However, when there is sodium deficiency, the nervous system doesn’t work properly and this leads to seizures and the acute symptom cause coma and brain damage.
- Improper Muscle Function
Sodium helps maintaining muscle functions and lacking of this mineral makes muscle function decreasing. Muscle contractions happen when the muscle fibers are connected with the nerves. However, this can’t happen when the sodium amount is lacking and this condition leads to muscle weakness and cramps.
- Swelling Brain
This is quite a serious problem, swelling in the brain caused by sodium deficiency or also called as cerebral edema, can make your brain tissues straining. If this is not properly treated, swelling brain can be fatal. There is an intracranial pressure that causes the straining, and this pressure is increasing when the brain is bleeding since the blood vessels can be ruptured due to the swelling condition. Supplying your body with enough sodium is important for preventing such health issue.
High Sodium Side Effects
- Excessive Water Retention
Sodium benefits for human health has proven as important minerals, sodium plays a significant role in retaining water or fluid in your body. This is very important to keep you hydrated. However, when the water retention is too much because the level of sodium is too high, swelling or high blood volume can happen. The kidney can’t also flush out the water through the urine since the sodium keeps the water in your body. So you need to cut back the amount to keep it normal.
- Feeling Dehydration
It is normal when you are experiencing water retention due to the high level of sodium, but it is abnormal to suffer dehydration caused by the excessive sodium intake. However, this condition happens in people that are not hydrated properly, taking medications, or suffering a disorder that makes them urinate more frequent. In this case you will feel dehydrated since your body needs to use the water from the cells, leading to dehydration.
- High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure occurs when the blood volume is increasing. Since blood volume can be affected by the amount of sodium in your body, maintaining proper sodium amount is very important.
The case of being too low in sodium is actually rare as people tend to eat more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily, which is the maximum daily intake. Remember that sodium can be found not only in table salt, but there are many other packaged foods and beverages containing sodium. It means that controlling the table salt addition in your dishes doesn’t always mean a cutback on salt if you still have other high-sodium foods you don’t realize. Pay attention of the packaged foods you are buying to check the sodium amount. So make sure you have enough to maintain the balance and health of your body. Also, you should properly use sodium as a skin treatment to keep it safe