Recommended Daily Sodium Intake

Mayuri Kulkarni Mar 6, 2019
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To lead a healthy life, everyone should be aware of the recommended daily intake of various minerals, because excess consumption can lead to serious health problems. Let's see the recommended daily intake of sodium, and side effects of its excessive consumption.
Salt is an age-old ingredient, used to add taste to the food and also as a preservative. Sodium and chlorine are two components of salt, out of which, sodium consumption should be given a special attention.
Everyone of us is quite aware of the fact, that sodium should be consumed in less quantity. However, it has been observed that a large percentage of the population consumes more than the recommended daily sodium intake, which is mostly derived from table salt and processed foods.

Role of Sodium

It plays an important role in the body, because it deals with maintaining water balance, transmitting nerve impulses, and regulating muscle contraction and relaxation. It also has a significant role in hydration, by promoting healthy functions of body cells.
Furthermore, sodium is responsible for pushing water into the body cells and potassium pushes the waste out of cell. This helps to maintain a balance of water in the body. Before knowing its daily allowance, one should first understand the dangers of high and low intake of this mineral.

Problems with High Intake of Sodium

Less consumption of sodium has always been a part of the treatment required for lowering high blood pressure. Consuming it in an excessive manner directly leads to fatal health problems like heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, or kidney failure. Our kidneys are responsible for regulating the amount of sodium in our body.
They conserve it when sodium level is low and they excrete it when it is high in amount. Inability of the kidneys to regulate the sodium level in the body leads to its accumulation in the body. One of the physical properties of sodium is that it holds water.
Thus, this excess sodium holds water, thereby, increasing the volume of the blood. This causes the heart to work harder, for moving the increased volume of blood through the blood vessels. Further, this leads to the increased pressure on the arteries i.e. high blood pressure.
As too much sodium is harmful for the human body, similarly its low intake can also cause problems. The deficiency of sodium is called hyponatremia. This can cause severe consequences like seizures, coma, or even death. With so many health issues related to its intake, it is mandatory that every person is aware of its daily recommended intake.
There are various factors that govern its recommended daily intake, which include age and the health condition of an individual. 500 mg per day is the minimum requirement of sodium to perform normal body function. The recommended sodium intake per day in healthy individuals is limited to 2,400mg.
However, since, many people consume table salt and processed foods in great amount, the recommended intake is set at an upper limit. People who are diagnosed with high blood pressure, need to cut down the sodium intake (that is they should not have more than 1,500 mg per day), than the recommended intake for an average adult.
Here is the detailed amount of recommended sodium intake for each age group per day:
  • 1 to 13 years - 1500 mg to 2200 mg
  • 14 to 50 years - 2300 mg
  • Above 50 years - Below 1500 mg
It is necessary that every individual meets the recommended intake of the same, specially for children and those affected by hypertension. The people affected by hypertension should cut down the elevated sodium intake at the earliest and achieve the recommended intake.
To avoid excess consumption of sodium, one should cut down its intake by eating fresh fruits, low-salt snacks, and by avoiding excessive use of table salt, processed foods, and foods high in the same. Moreover, one should opt for healthy sources of sodium and substitutes for salt.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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