The human body uses sodium for various functions, such as contracting and relaxing muscles. While sodium does play an important role in physiological responses, most people in the US consume too much of it. Discover four health benefits of limiting sodium intake.
1. Improves Heart Health
A low-sodium diet is one of the best ways to control high blood pressure without medication. High sodium levels can cause the body to retain more fluids, which increases the pressure blood puts on the blood vessel walls.
High blood pressure significantly strains the heart and is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases. Reducing sodium intake to a healthy level can bring down blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.
2. Supports Kidney Function
Another way that limiting sodium intake benefits health is by enhancing kidney function. The kidneys filter blood and remove excess water from the body.
Excess sodium alters the balance of sodium and potassium the kidneys rely on to pull water away from the bloodstream. Not removing enough water increases blood pressure, and it also harms the kidneys and can lead to kidney disease.
3. Promotes Bone Health
The body attempts to eliminate excess sodium through urine. However, this process also depletes the body’s calcium. Bones require calcium for strength and density, and low calcium levels can lead to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle and more susceptible to fractures, even from mild stress such as coughing. Support superior bone health by managing sodium intake.
4. Manages Fluid Retention
Too much sodium can lead to fluid retention, which causes swelling and bloating. Excess fluid retention not only interrupts the body’s internal functions but can also make it uncomfortable to move.
For people diagnosed with conditions associated with fluid retention, such as liver disease, excessive sodium intake can worsen these complications. Monitor sodium consumption to avoid fluid retention in the abdomen, hands, feet, and ankles.