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Sodium.. How Much should I have and why?

What is salt?

Salt is an essential macro-minerals and is an important electrolyte required in the human diet for various biochemical processes

Why do I need salt?

  • Regulates body fluid osmolarity: osmolarity refers to the concentration of a solution; therefore, sodium regulates the concentration of body fluids.

  • Regulates acid-base balance: acid-base balance refers to the pH levels of the fluids in the body.

  • Transmission of nerve impulses: communication between nerves in response to various signals and messages from internal and external environments.

  • Total body fluid volume: secondary to the osmolarity of body fluids, sodium will assist in regulating total body fluid volume.

What does too much salt do?

  • If consumed in excess over a long period of time :Increase risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Excessive intake has also been linked to potential osteoporosis (brittle and fragile bones),oedema (excess water collecting in tissues of the body such as ankles) and acute (sudden/quick onset) hypertension.

Where does salt come from?

  • Processed foods are either high in salt (such as bacon, salami, chips, frozen meals, snack foods and cheese) or consumed frequently (such as bread and cereal).

  • Added to cooking (such as stock cubes).

  • Added at the table for additional flavour (such as soy sauce or table salt).

Currently with all these additional foods and choices for sodium intake, it is no surprise that most Western populations are consuming over two times the nutritional recommendations

So how much can I have in a day?

Australian guidelines recommend an upper limit of 2.3g (2300mg) per day

How do I read nutritional labels?

When you are reading a nutrition labels look for sodium levels that kept below 120mg/100g

So what sort of salt should I choose?

The main 4 types are:

  1. Celtic Sea Salt

  2. Hymilayan Salt

  3. Table Salt

  4. Iodised table salt

With any advice from a Health point of view we want o avoid as much processed foods, so therefore the same is with salt. Therefore, Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt is recommended as a preference over refined table salt.

If you have an iodine deficiency you may benefit from iodine-fortified salt (salt with iodine added to it), and those with heavy metal toxicity may benefit from avoiding sea salt.

Celtic Sea salt is an excellent choice because it is unrefined and has the highest amounts of beneficial trace minerals and the lowest amount of sodium.

Table salt is refined (processed), has the minerals removed, and may have added anti-caking agents.

So next time you are curious .. read the nutritional label and see what you’re consuming

If you’d like to know the TOTAL amount you are consuming, like when looking at the amount of calories you consume tracking your consumption through an app such as My Fitness Pal or signing up to Nutritional Coaching with me we can monitor your salt intake.

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