Diet and nutrition | The definitive guide to the low sodium diet
The Sodium is an essential mineral, involved in many important body functions such as cell function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance and blood pressure maintenance.
This mineral is found in common foods such as eggs and vegetables. It is also a main component of table salt (sodium chloride).
Although vital for health, dietary sodium is sometimes limited in some circumstances. For example, a low-sodium diet is prescribed for people with certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Know the implications of a low sodium diet; as well as its benefits and contradictions.
1.Diseases incompatible with sodium
Low sodium diets are one of the most used diets in hospital environments. This is because the researchers show that sodium restriction can help control or improve certain medical conditions, such as the following
1.1 Kidney diseases
Kidney diseases such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) or kidney failure make these cannot effectively remove excess sodium or fluid from your body.
If the sodium and fluid levels increase too much, the pressure in the blood increases, which can cause greater damage to the already compromised kidneys.
1.2 High blood pressure
The high blood pressure is a risk factor for various conditions, including heart disease and stroke.
A very recent study in 766 people showed that people with higher urinary sodium excretion had the highest blood pressure levels.
This may be the reason why many studies have shown that reducing salt intake can lower blood pressure in people with high levels.
1.3 Diseases of the heart
Low sodium diets are implemented in people suffering from heart disease, including heart failure.
Too much salt can cause excess fluid in people with heart failure and cause dangerous complications, such as shortness of breath. Therefore, regulatory agencies recommend that people with mild heart failure limit their sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day, while people with moderate to severe heart failure should reduce their intake to no more than 2,000 milligrams per day.
2.Benefits of the low sodium diet
2.1 Help reduce blood pressure
A low sodium diet helps maintain a low blood pressure. A review of 34 studies showed that a moderate reduction in salt intake over four or more weeks, led to significant reductions in blood pressure in people with high and normal levels.
2.2 Reduce the risk of cancer
Diets rich in salt have been linked to some types of cancer, including stomach cancer.
A review of 76 studies in more than 6,300,000 people found that, for each increase of 5 grams of salt in the diet per day, through processed foods, the risk of stomach cancer increased by 12%.In contrast, a diet low in processed foods, high in sodium and rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer, so the problem is not so much the sodium itself, but the ultraprocessing of some foods.
3.Risks of high sodium consumption
Major health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day; while higher risk groups, such as African-Americans and older adults, should not exceed 1,500 milligrams.
On the other hand, it is necessary that the majority of healthy people restrict the consumption of sodium when they follow a balanced diet rich in natural foods. In this way, they can avoid suffering from problems derived from excessive consumption of salt in the future.
Low sodium diets help improves hypertension, chronic kidney disease and the overall quality of the diet. It also helps reduce the possibility of suffering from stomach cancer. However, we must also consider that low sodium consumption can have negative effects on health, which means that this type of diet is not compatible with all people.
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