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The word “sodium” has a negative connotation, as it is automatically thought of as being unhealthy. Even so, a certain amount of sodium is needed for the body to function. How much sodium daily is recommended, and when should sodium intake be considered too much? Here is some information you need to know.
Sodium is a crucial electrolyte that binds water in the body, while at the same time maintaining the right balance of intracellular and extracellular fluids. This is why sodium is associated with muscle volumization, something that is essential for protein synthesis to occur. In conjunction with potassium, it helps maintain electrical gradients among cell membranes, making it critical for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and a host of other functions. This means your body simply cannot function without a certain amount of sodium each day.
Although a certain amount of sodium is required, taking in more than the recommended dosage can provide some negative health effects. The most notable one is an increase in blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. This is because sodium binds water in the bloodstream, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that people who regularly consume a high-salt diet had an increased risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. Too much sodium can also negate any cutting effects by causing you to appear bloated.
Since you now know that sodium is essential for life, yet detrimental to your health in high amounts, you are probably asking “How much sodium daily is recommended?” The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends between 1500 and 2300 mg daily, as does the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The recommended amounts apply equally to men and women alike.
Many people asking “How much sodium daily do I need?” are surprised to find out that they are probably consuming way too much. The average American takes in around 3400 mg daily, which is far more than the amount recommended by the ADA and AND. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 1500 mg daily. Following those guidelines means that most people are consuming more than twice the recommended daily amount of sodium. Limiting processed foods is the best way to reduce the amount of sodium in the diet, as is restricting the amount of salt you add to your food during cooking and at the table.
How much sodium daily do you need? Probably not as much as you are taking in. The goal of exercise is to improve heart health, so you should carefully monitor your sodium intake to ensure you are not inadvertently forcing your heart to work harder than it needs to. Doing so can not only help you improve your health, but could also make it possible for you to reach your fitness goals faster.