We have been observing that people are noticing swelling in the body, legs, arms, etc and many aren’t
able to pinpoint what the reason is. Let’s look at this one very important electrolyte which is important for our body. I’m talking about sodium, which is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including maintaining proper fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, and transmitting nerve impulses. It is found naturally in many foods, such as dairy products, meats, and vegetables, and is often added to processed foods to enhance flavour and preservation. While sodium is necessary for our bodies to function properly, too much of this mineral can lead to negative health consequences.
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Excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. When we consume too much sodium, our bodies try to flush out the excess by holding onto more water, which can result in bloating, puffiness, and weight gain. When there is too much sodium in the bloodstream, it draws water out of the cells and into the bloodstream, which can lead to an increase in the total amount of water in the body and cause swelling and bloating. The body tries to regulate the amount of sodium and water in the body through the reninangiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). When there is an excess of sodium, the kidneys release more of the hormone aldosterone, which causes the kidneys to retain more sodium and water, leading to water retention. Additionally, excess sodium can also lead to excessive thirst, making it difficult to adhere to fluid restrictions in our diets. For individuals with
kidney disease, excess sodium can add burden to the kidneys, making it important to limit sodium intake. To avoid the side effects of excess sodium, it is recommended that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, and ideally even less for those with high blood pressure or kidney disease. It’s important to note that most of the sodium we consume does not come from the salt, but rather from processed and packaged foods. These foods often contain high amounts of sodium as a preservative or flavour enhancer, so it’s important to read food labels and choose lowsodium options whenever possible.
Foods such as canned soups, frozen dinners, and instant noodles often contain high amounts of sodium and
should be avoided or consumed in moderation. When it comes to seasoning food, it is important to avoid table salt and any seasonings that end with the word ‘salt’. Instead, try using a mix of normal and Himalayan pink salt or rock salt sparingly, or experiment with other flavourful herbs and spices. Salty snacks such as chips, salted nuts, and cheese should be avoided, as well as smoked, cured, salted, and canned meat, fish, and poultry.
Most of the sodium we consume is hidden in processed foods and restaurant food, especially at fastfood and take-out places. To reduce sodium intake, it is best to limit the intake of outside food and prepare
meals at home using fresh ingredients. By making small changes to our diet, we can easily reduce or manage our sodium intake and improve our overall health.
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