Article: How Is Your Relationship With Sodium Working Out?

How is your relationship with sodium working out? ... By Keith Dorsette

Sodium (salt or Na+, NaCl, Sodium + Chloride) is a welcomed resident into your body. However, things can get out of hand if you are not weary of the levels at all times.

Salt helps our kidneys retain water. Salt is essential for contributing blood circulation maintenance. Salt helps the heart within the pumping of blood throughout our bodies. When you hear of blood circulation you can easily see how blood pressure now fits into the discussion. Blood pressure can be described as the flow of blood that is pushing against the arterial walls. If there is a lack of salt within our circulatory system, the blood flow will not be optimal. Hence the direct impact on blood pressure. Flow disruption equals blood pressure issues, bad ones.

When we sweat from exercise, heat, etc. our bodies lose salt and water. Sweating is the body’s mechanism for regulating our internal temperature. Salt helps to retain the water in our systems even though we are losing it due to sweating. No, exercise is not a culprit in any way. It is a necessary doing to ensure optimal overall health. However, when you do exercise or sweat from any other reason that raises your temperature, you will need to rehydrate as soon as possible.

The process of osmosis, in layman’s terms, is when our kidney performs it’s job of regulating the ratio of salt to water in your blood. If there is too much salt, the kidney will evict it. If there is too little salt, the kidney will hoard it. By design, the water will stalk the salt. Meaning, where ever the salt is going, the water is going to follow with a passion – think of a jealous partner who as unlimited resources to follow you… there no place on earth where you can go to ditch this pursuit.

Now that you have a little back story, let’s get to the focal points of this article. If you have too much salt in your blood stream, you are at high risk of driving up your blood pressure. This will result in a heart or kidney condition that will be painful, expensive and even cause premature death.

Government regulations suggest that the average person consume no more than 2,300mgs of sodium daily. The American Heart Association promotes consumption at no more than 1,500mgs daily. In SAAF CAMP, we endorse the number of 1,500mgs daily. The average person is consuming well over 3,000mgs daily! Yes, you read that right. 3,000 mgs daily. The majority of that intake is coming from fast food, processed food and restaurant food. Know where you eat! Interrogate your food! According to governmental guidelines, 5mgs listed on a label may be classified as “sodium free”. 140mgs or less, “Low Sodium”. 340mgs or more … should be avoided! Now, if you are mindful about your daily intake, counting the mgs as you consume them, you may be able to have the 340+ mgs in a meal … IF and only IF, you are sure that you are well within your daily sodium allowance (1,500mgs). Be very mindful of flavor enhancers and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). They are loaded with sodium levels that surpass the Avoid Level! I always suggest flavoring your foods with whatever you can find in your herb garden. If you do not have an herb garden on your window sill … the store bought spices that contain only herbs will do just fine.

If you choose not to abide by the aforementioned …. you will be subject to a variety of life threatening conditions. If your kidney loses it’s ability to filter blood properly due to salt overload, arteries will pay the debt by getting hard, thickening or narrowing. This will lead to a heart attack or stroke. Kidney failure leads to reduction of blood flow, which makes the heart work harder (raising blood pressure).

The relationship that our bodies have with salt is a serious one. Think of two wild hyper active kids that need to be watched continuously. Leave your tower post unattended and the sounds of the breaking glass, furniture crashing, alerting screams and cries will surely remind you that they require supervision. Your neglect to properly monitor this relationship increases your risk of a multitude of diseases and conditions. I like to use the terms of 1. “Do you know where your children are”? And 2. “Do you know what your sodium levels are”? Think these terms collectively, 1-2 combo punch and you may be as mindful of your daily salt consumption as you are with the whereabouts of your most beloved offspring. –Keith Dorsette is the developer and senior trainer for the SAAF CAMP NCD Prevention and Health and Wellness Program. He is also the Health And Wellness correspondent for the SAAF CAMP TV Show. Visit Us At: saafcamp.org