The truth is that sodium is not bad at all. It is an important mineral in the body responsible for many bodily functions. Sodium is naturally occurring in food like vegetables, eggs and it is also the main component of table salt used in cooking dishes. Although it is important for overall health, consumption of sodium must be in moderation especially for people with medical conditions. A low sodium diet is commonly prescribed to patients with renal problems, heart diseases, and high blood pressure.
If you are still not convinced, then this article will tell you science-based facts why some people need to limit their sodium intake.
Who needs a diet low in sodium?
Patients with Renal Issues
People with renal problems can suffer from chronic kidney disease, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, and kidney failure. All of these ailments can put havoc on the health and function of the kidney. The main function of this organ is to filter the blood from waste like excess sodium in the body. Once the fluid level and sodium in the blood increases, it will add pressure to the blood that can lead to more damages to the kidney. This is the reason why foods low in sodium is recommended by doctors to patients with kidney problems.
Patients with Heart Conditions
The heart and the kidney are two organs that are connected. Once the heart is at risk because of a health condition, then the kidney also suffers from a decline. When this happened then a patient might experience high sodium and water retention. A low salt diet is prescribed because too much salt can lead to fluid overload to people with heart failure and later on developed into serious complications.
The following are benefits that you can reap out of a diet low in salt or sodium even without any health conditions.
1. Decrease Risk of Blood Pressure
There is no need to wait for a health condition to start before you begin your journey to a low sodium diet. If you are at risk of developing high blood pressure because you belong to a family with a history of such ailment, then you need to be very careful. As people age, they also develop high blood pressure even without genetic link because of poor eating habits.
Several proven studies show the effectiveness of taking foods low in sodium in a significant decrease in blood pressure. An analysis of 34 studies provides positive information and data that linked sodium reduction in the diet for four weeks to decrease blood pressure level. These studies are done in people with elevated blood pressure and normal level.
2. Decrease Risk of Developing Cancer
Consumption of too much sodium or salt in the diet is linked to the development of certain types of cancer like stomach cancer. Analysis of 76 studies with 6,300,000 participants and more have shown that high sodium intake from processed food products also increased the risk of having stomach cancer by 12 percent.
The reason for prescribing a low salt diet is because it can damage the lining of the stomach and leads to inflammation and the growth of bacteria known as H. pylori that causes stomach cancer. However, eating foods low in salt and high in fiber like fruits and vegetables are proven effective in lowering the risk of getting stomach cancer.
3. Aids in Healthy Food Choices
Unhealthy foods are often associated with high sodium foods like fast foods and processed chips. These types of food products are not only high in salt but are also loaded with lots of empty calories and bad fats. Consumption of foods low in sodium can aid your body to become healthy and stay away from a health condition like obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Always look at the label of food products available in groceries to avoid the dreaded combination of diet that is high in salt and low in potassium. Potassium is an important nutrient that is responsible for having high blood pressure. According to a health professional, when the body lacks potassium cells tend to absorb more sodium.