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Sodium is a crucial ion needed in our body. It helps our body’s enzyme operations and muscle contraction activities. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps the human body in the process of osmoregulation and fluid maintenance. Also, you may face various health-related issues if your body is dealing with sodium deficiency. Hence, it is important to add sodium to your regular diet. A deficiency of sodium rich foods also supports human heart health by regulating blood volume and pressure.
Reading so far, we understand that maintaining sodium balance is essential for the human body. Since too much intake of sodium is also very harmful to the body. So, to educate ourselves more about sodium-rich foods intake, let’s read more about it from this article.
Sodium Deficiency Symptoms
Let’s know what the symptoms and signs of sodium deficiency in our body are:
- Confused or forgetting things
- Continuous headaches
- Weight Loss
- Low Blood Pressure
What is the Difference Between Sodium and Salt?
Many times, sodium and salt are often used interchangeably. But both have different roles and properties. As sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods and nowadays it is added during manufacturing or both. However, salt is a combination of sodium and chloride.
Let’s have a look at the approximate amounts of sodium in a given amount of table salt:
- 1/4 tbsp salt = 575 mg sodium
- 1/2 tbsp salt = 1,150 mg sodium
- 3/4 tbsp salt = 1,725 mg sodium
- 1 tbsp salt = 2,300 mg sodium
Sodium Rich Foods In Different Food Articles
Sodium is present in all types of foods. Let’s have a look and find out:
1. Sodium Rich Fruits
The fruit containing the highest sodium content is the Mammee apple (American fruit), a tropical fruit. One fruit or about 850 gm of mammee apple contains about 127 mg of sodium. Guava and Apple skin contains about 45-50 mg of sodium per serving. Products made from these fruits like applesauce, apple juice, dried apples, jams made from apples, and guavas are also sodium-rich. Avocados, papaya, mangoes, carambola, pineapple, bananas, watermelons, and pears also contain sodium but in low quantities.
2. Sodium Rich Vegetables
Celery (अजवाइन) and fresh beetroot (चुकन्दर) are two vegetables that have high sodium content. One beet serving can have up to 60 mg of sodium and a large celery can contain up to 70 mg of sodium. And 100 gm of spinach can have up to 85 mg of sodium. Other sodium-rich vegetables are carrots, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. Also, vegetables like onions, tomato, mushrooms, lettuce, bell pepper, chili pepper, cucumber, etc are vegetables that have low amounts of sodium.
3. Sodium Rich Sauces
Different sauces have great taste and are high in sodium. The use of sauces as a dressing on salads can give you up to 10 to 15 % of your daily sodium requirement with just 1-2 servings. Teriyaki sauce (a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and other flavorings, used in Japanese cooking)
Makes your food tasty. But one tbsp contains 700 mg of sodium. And on the other hand, your soy sauce which is often used in Chinese dishes contains 1000 mg of sodium. So, consuming at least 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce can mean ingesting about 300 to 320 mg of sodium. There are other sodium-rich sauces such as oyster sauce, fish sauce, and steak sauce.
4. Sodium Rich Pickles
Pickles play an important role in Indian dishes and are also rich in sodium. But always put a limit to your pickle consumption to a few times a week only. Olives, Jalapeno peppers, cucumbers pickle, pickled eggplant, and others are all high-sodium-rich foods. Pickles are consumed daily in India with meals as they add good flavor and are also a great source of sodium-rich foods. If you are Indian then you must know that Indian kitchen shelves are stocked with at least a few varieties of pickles.
5. Sodium Rich Cheese
Mostly all processed cheese is high in sodium. Cottage cheese is also the best sodium-rich food. Cottage cheese is also called paneer in India. Also consuming paneer or cottage cheese provides instant energy to the body. It acts as an energy bar for the human body. Hence, paneer or cottage cheese should be part of your daily diet especially if you are a vegetarian as it fulfills the protein needs of the body. Also, to improve sodium content in your body foods like pizza and sandwiches are already high in sodium.
6. Sodium Rich Meat
As we know fresh meat is a natural source of sodium that can help the body to complete its daily requirement. Whereas all types of meat contain high to medium amounts of sodium. Freshly cooked pork and half a chicken breast can contain up to 70 mg of sodium. You can even include lean beef which contains up to 50-60 mg of this micronutrient (difficult to find in India).
7. Sodium Rich Fish
Fish meat also contains a high rate of sodium. Fishes like salmon, snapper, roe, mackerel, etc are common fish varieties. These fish contain large amounts of sodium. Other seafood also contains a good amount of sodium for example shrimp, scallops, oysters, crabs, lobster, clams, and mussels and basically, all shellfish are rich sources of sodium. Do you know eating three ounces of lobster means you are consuming more than 400 mg of sodium? Also, steamed fish with a little salt is the best way to eat your favorite fish.
8. Sodium Rich Breakfast
Your ready-made breakfast cereal pack has a lot of sodium. Many portions of cereal can have up to 300 to 350 mg of sodium per serving. Cereals like puffed wheat and puffed rice are free of sodium. If you love packed cereals for your breakfast, then look for products that have all low-sodium content. You can also mix up low-sodium and high-sodium cereals to achieve a balance of sodium diet in your breakfast meal.
Few Health Benefits of Sodium Foods
Here are some of the health advantages of sodium. They are as follows:
- This is a crucial mineral that helps the human body to regulate fluid levels. It also helps in maintaining water balance in your body.
- Prevent sunstroke in summer.
- Sodium also helps in the proper functioning of the human brain.
- This mineral also helps you to provide anti-aging effects to your skin.
- Eliminate excess carbon dioxide from the body.
- It plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health.
- Maintain the positive and negative ions in the body.
Sodium is an important mineral that the human body cannot do without. But also having it in excess or accumulation of this mineral in the body can be quite dangerous. This can lead to so many health conditions such as high blood pressure. High blood pressure weakens the heart over time so always maintain your sodium intake. Rather than eating foods that are high in sodium, it is right to maintain a balance or substitute it with varieties of fruits and vegetables. Also, maintain balance to consume sodium-packed foods or processed foods that happen to get more sodium content. The added preservatives and additives are also bad for the human body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What Happens When You Eat High-sodium Foods?
Ans: Consuming sodium too much in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Also, with high intake of sodium can cause calcium loss from the body, some of which may be pulled from the bone.
Q: Why is it Crucial to Avoid Foods that are High in Sodium?
Ans: Human body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly. But consuming it in high volume can be harmful to your body. Diets higher in sodium are related to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. This high blood pressure is the major cause of heart stroke and its related diseases.
Q: What Happens if You don’t Have Enough Sodium?
Ans: Not consuming enough sodium can cause ‘Salt loss (hyponatremia).’ This condition occurs when the sodium in the human blood falls below the normal range of 135–145 mEq/L.
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This blog post was written to help you to make healthy and better food choices altogether. So, be aware and take care. The important thing to consider is your own health before starting a diet that is restrictive. Always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.
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