Balancing Sodium Can Be Important to Health
By Tom Herrin
The key to having a good diet is being informed and staying on top of it. When people know what they need in terms of nutrition, they can manage their diet more effectively. Reading labels is good, but people need to know what those numbers mean. It is important to know what a serving really is in a particular item. That can help when they are trying to determine what is the right amount of anything. Fats, sugars, carbohydrates, fibers, and proteins are all things that need to be considered. Sodium is one of those substances contained in foods that can have a powerful impact on health.
Blood Pressure Can Be Impacted
It is pretty common knowledge that sodium, usually in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure. In studies done on the amount of sodium passed from the body through urine in a 24-hour period, those countries in which levels were higher had a direct correlation to higher blood pressure at present and as people age. In those with very low levels of sodium passed, the blood pressures were much lower. In China, high blood pressure is the leading cause of preventable death.
The kidneys are affected considerably by sodium. With higher levels, the body will retain more water in an effort to improve the balance of water to sodium. It is believed that people who take in high levels of salt have an increased instance of stomach cancer. For many people, especially older women, sodium can lower levels of calcium in the blood. In order to compensate, the body will remove calcium from the bones. This can result in osteoporosis, which lowers bone density.
Potassium May Be The ‘Anti Sodium’
While it may not be exactly true, potassium can have almost opposite effects from those of sodium. It can relax the blood vessels, which can remove sodium and improve blood pressure. Consuming a good supply of fresh fruits and vegetables can provide plenty of potassium. This shouldn’t be considered a fix for eating too much sodium but could be part of a healthy diet. Making good choices is a critical part of protecting our health. Obtaining the knowledge needed to make those choices is the responsibility of each of us. Eating well can be enjoyable and keep us healthier.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Newnan, Ga.