Health Benefits of Sodium
Sodium is an important electrolyte and an essential ion present in the extra cellular fluid (ECF). The health benefits of sodium play a pivotal role in enzyme operation and muscle contraction. It is important for osmoregulation and fluid maintenance of the human body. Other health benefits of sodium include heart performance, nervous system and glucose absorption.
Sodium is the predominant ion and electrolyte, needed for the blood regulation in the human body. Serious impairment is caused due to the abrupt dysfunctioning of sodium. It is a versatile element and occurs in more than eighty forms. As an electrolyte, it regulates the body fluid and transmits electrical impulse in the body. Unlike minerals and vitamins, heat has no effect on sodium. Thus, it can be used for heat resistive processes. Also, it is an important constituent of nerves and helps in muscle contraction.
Though, sodium is an essential nutrient in the balanced diet, it also causes stomach cancer and hypertension. Those who are suffering from kidney problems and edema should strictly restrict the consummation of sodium in their daily diet.
Thus, sodium is the vital component in the human diet for the correct regulation of cells and nerves in the human body. Supplemental dosage of sodium is necessary during excessive perspiration, sunstroke and adrenal insufficiency. As it is regularly excreted through urine, it does not pose life threatening risks.
Deficiency Symptoms: Recommended intake value of sodium is 120mg/day. But its deficiency can be harmful, as it directly attacks the nervous system of human body. In general, it leads to
- Low blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Muscular irritability
Overdose of sodium causes high blood pressure, swelling of brain nerves and cerebral edema. If it worsens, it can even lead to comma.
Reduction in the amount of sodium also reduces the fat accumulated in the periphery. It also elevates the chances of lung infection. Sodium present in plasma provides ninety percent base to the body. Depletion of sodium layer is an invitation to diseases that can cause exhaustion, exertion and mental apathy.
Important Sources: Some of the important sources of sodium are apple, common salt, homemade soups, cabbage, egg yolks, pulses, bananas. Even, carrot, baking powder and baking soda, turnips, leafy vegetables and dried peas are some of the essential sources. Processed cheese, smoked fish and salty meats, snacks, pickles and sauce contains ample amount of sodium.
Health benefits of sodium
Generally sodium is present in very little quantity in almost every natural food. When it is added in form of common salt, it not only increases the flavor but also completes the necessary requirement of balanced diet. The health benefits of sodium include:
Water Balance: Sodium is one of those minerals, which helps to maintain water level in the human body. Sodium and water balance are very interdependent. It pumps water in the cell and regulates the amount of extra cellular fluid in the body.
Sunstroke: It is caused due to the failure of heat regulating system of the human body. This heat exhaustion is caused due to continuous exposure to very high temperature due to which the body loses its capacity to maintain the normal temperature. This condition is further aggravated due to the loss of salt and water from the body. Thus, Sodium plays a vital role in preventing sun stroke or heat prostration by replacing the loss of essential electrolytes. Besides water, drinking fluids containing salt and sugar is favorable against sunstroke. Salt can also be mixed with the drink of raw mangoes to provide more relief. It is very important for ultra endurance athletes.
Brain function: Brain is very sensitive to the change in sodium level of the body, which often leads to confusion and lethargy. Sodium aids in keeping the mind sharp. It is an important element for development of brain. Sodium facilitates the improvement of brain functions.
Muscle cramps: These are caused mostly during the hot summer months, due to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Thus, apart from proper hydration of the body, it is also important to supplement one’s body with sodium rich juices and fluids to restore the amount of electrolyte.
Anti aging: Sodium is an important hydrating product of anti-aging creams. It fights with the radicals which accelerate the aging process. It helps in restoring youthful and healthy skin.
Eliminates excess carbon dioxide: Sodium plays an important role in the removal of excess amount of carbon dioxide accumulated in the body.
Maintains glucose absorption: It helps in absorption of glucose by cells for the smooth transportations of nutrients in body cell membranes.
Maintains acid-base balance: By altering proportions of acid-base alkali phosphates it controls reaction of urine in kidneys.
Regulation of fluids: The health benefits of sodium balances the osmotic pressure in the human body due to regulation of fluid in body cells.
Balance of ions: Sodium shares an association with chlorides and bicarbonates in maintaining a sound balance between two types of ions, positively charged ions as well as negatively charged ions.
Maintains healthy condition of the heart: It maintains the contraction of heart. It plays a vital role in maintaining the blood pressure of the human body. Increase in sodium content can dramatically boost the blood pressure.