Sodium vs Salt

April 5, 2012

fat feetI was talking to a woman about inflammation while I was in Los Angeles this past week. It is interesting to me what people think inflammation is and how our body becomes inflamed. She had mentioned she had a lot of stiffness in her joints in the morning and said to me, “I think my body retains sodium so I do my very best to stay away from it entirely.”

Sodium isn’t a bad thing. What she is thinking here is simply not right. In fact, without sodium, we would have extreme trouble maintaining the water balance within cells and in the function of both nerve impulses and muscles.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, any extra sodium we consume is excreted by the kidneys and if you have too much sodium in your diet you can wreak havoc on your kidneys not to mention causing water retention.

It’s also been shown that women who consume excess sodium may be at higher risk for developing osteoporosis (even if calcium intake is adequate). Some evidence suggests that for each teaspoon of salt (2,000 mg of sodium) consumed, considerable calcium is excreted in the urine.

Of course if you are active or athletic you want to make sure you get enough sodium because of the sweat that is omitted during exercise. And you can’t put sodium in through salt tablets by the way, in fact it can increase dehydration and lower performance.bloat

Also, don’t think of salt as being where sodium is found. Table salt is only 40% sodium. The rest is chloride. Sodium is naturally present in many foods. And, things like Himalayan Mountain Salt or Sea Salt has more minerals beyond sodium and are very beneficial for you! I found a good website that had a great food chart showing sodium content so check that out. By the way, there’s a LOT of sodium in processed foods so bottom line, stay away from eating lots of processed foods. It’s also in common food sources like cheese, breakfast cereals, and basically most soup, sauces, and dressing, cured meats and canned goods.

So before you can sodium and think salt is the enemy, check out this site and see if you are consuming the proper amount each day from the healthy food choices you hopefully are engaging in!

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09354.html