Nutrition Confusion: Is Sodium Really That Bad?

trendy fit with steph

Removing salt from your diet isn’t in your best interest.

From your favourite Trendy Fit columnist: Steph

Nutrition confusion is such a common issue these days. It seems like every day we hear of conflicting information about what you need and don’t need in your body. Grocery stores have even started a basic star-rating type system of categorizing food products. This is put into place to help you determine what is the best option in each food category; cereals, sauces etc. (brilliant!) Food and health myths are inevitable; the bottom line is about what you take into your own hands. You are the captain of your own ship and the boss of what you put in your body! You can hear the information (even from me!) take it for what it is, or do your own homework and own research. It’s all up to you.

Nutrition Confusion: Is Sodium Really That Bad?

Take sodium as an example.

We’ve been taught that too much sodium is one of those things we just “know” is bad for us. You’ve learned to read your nutrition labels and how many mg’s of sodium on the label is overboard and how much is acceptable. We know that when we see high numbers of sodium, red flags should go up. But how much is too much? Why do we need sodium?

Sodium intake is essential to maintain blood pressure and fluids in the body. Too much can spike your blood pressure leading to heart disease, kidney stones, obesity and possibly even a stroke. The recommended amount that the average North American should consume is between 1500 mg and 2300 mg a day for those within the age range of 9-50. Ideally, we want to keep our daily intake somewhere right in the middle of those two numbers based on an average healthy person.

Nutrition Confusion: Is Sodium Really That Bad?

The fact is: sodium in your body is necessary. Especially if you are an active person, as we are all aiming to be!  Athletes and health enthusiasts alike have even tried out the “salt tablet” to help keep the necessary sodium within your body that is sweat out during rigorous physical activity/workouts. Some argue that this is not even necessary as long as you are properly hydrating; a topic we are well versed in at this point in our relationship.

You ask, is sodium really that bad?

Is this something we really need to monitor? The answer is yes! If you are consuming too many processed foods on a daily basis, it’s likely that you are ingesting too much sodium in your diet. Processed foods tend to have a higher sodium content mainly to preserve and to add taste. Be extremely cautious of this. The best, most cleanest foods in the world are naturally full of flavour, colour etc. you don’t need to add anything too it. Processed foods that you buy that have to live in your freezer before you consume them, they need that boost of sodium to amp the flavour up once the freezer burn has affected the flavor.

Nutrition Confusion: Is Sodium Really That Bad?

Why you need it?

Because over consumption of sodium is linked to heart health problems we tend to have a negative association with it. But the fact is: you still need to have a certain amount of sodium in your diet, highly active person or not. Sodium is in the body to bind water and maintain your fluid balance; you simply cannot function without it. A deficiency in sodium can lead to a serious health condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms of it include headache and nausea. Left untreated, hyponatremia can cause seizures and coma.

After reading this, you now know that too much sodium is not beneficial to your body, and too little has the same effect. The ongoing issue with anything health related comes down to balance. Are you creating a healthy balance for YOU. Every health profession and health nut wannabe can tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, but only you can create the proper balance for your body. For everything you hear and learn on a daily basis, take it upon yourself to learn more. Remember, you are the boss of you!

Read your labels, do your research, and continue to live a healthy lifestyle that YOU are in charge of.

Happy Tuesday friends!

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