Many health professionals recommend limiting sodium because too much can cause health problems; however, you still need some sodium in your diet because there are health benefits of sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral, and your body needs between 180 and 500 milligrams a day to function properly. If you consume less than this, you could become deficient, which can result in diarrhea, vomiting, headache, weakness, low blood pressure, lethargy, weight loss, confusion, dizziness, and muscle soreness. To be sure you do not become deficient in sodium, be sure you consume adequate amounts, which will ensure you are getting all the health benefits of sodium.
1. Regulates Fluid Balance
One of the health benefits of sodium is fluid regulation. Your body is made of 52 to 60 percent water, and too little or too much body water can cause problems. However, this isn’t something you have to worry about if you have the right amount of sodium in your body. Sodium balances fluid in the body by signaling thirst if sodium levels become high or causing urination if sodium levels become low. Keeping your sodium levels balanced will help your body maintain the right amount of fluid. Just be sure not to consume too much sodium because you will retain water!
2. Muscle Function
When your sodium levels dip too low because your intake is inadequate or you have been sweating, your muscles can suffer. Sodium depletion can cause muscle cramps. This is why you want to make sure your replace your sodium levels after an intense workout, which you can do with a sports drink or even coconut water.
3. Glucose Regulation
Believe it or not, your body needs sodium for glucose regulation. Your body uses glucose for fuel, and sodium helps glucose enter your bloodstream by binding to glucose and transporting it through the small intestines. After getting through the small intestine, glucose can enter the bloodstream and be used by your cells for energy.
4. Nerve Function
Sodium is an extremely important mineral when it comes to nerve function. Nerves communicate with electrical impulses, and sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate these impulses. Regulating nerve impulses is important for the entire body. Your muscles can properly contract when nerve signals are working, and your heart and brain will function properly as well.
5. Mental Function
For the nerve cells in your brain to communicate with one another and keep your thought processes clear, your nerve impulses need to be working. As you already know, this can’t happen if sodium levels are low, which is why you can have mental confusion if you are deficient in sodium. To make sure your brain is functioning at its best, keep your sodium levels balanced.
6. Heart Function
Your heart beat is stimulated by nerve impulses, and your nerves can only fire properly if they have enough sodium. So, if you want to keep your heart rhythm functioning properly, don’t let your sodium levels get too low.
7. Blood Pressure Regulation
Sodium can have a major impact on blood pressure. Too much sodium can cause blood pressure to skyrocket, and too little sodium can cause blood pressure to plummet. If you don't consume enough sodium, your blood pressure could become very low, causing you to feel dizzy and possibly faint. While you don’t want to consume enough sodium to make your blood pressure too high, you do want to consume enough to keep it from going too low.
Sodium is an essential mineral that has many health benefits. While you don’t want to consume too much of this mineral, you do want to make sure you are getting enough. Adding a touch of sea salt to your dishes or consuming healthy foods that contain sodium like celery can help you meet your sodium needs. Did you know sodium was so important for the body?