Sodium in food – Need & function for metabolism
High-salt foods contain a lot of sodium.
Sodium is mainly absorbed through foods containing salt. The mineral controls muscles, nerves and water balance.
Sodium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, accounting for about 100 grams. One third of sodium is stored in the bones and is released from there into the blood in times of insufficient supply. The main function of the mineral is to regulate the water balance and the acid-base balance in the body. The sodium requirement of an adult is 550 mg per day. The mineral is most frequently absorbed through the compound sodium chloride (table salt) in the diet, but this is far in excess of the daily requirement. A deficiency is therefore rare.
What is the function of sodium?
Sodium is absorbed through food, 75% of it from industrially produced foods such as bread, cheese or sausage. One third of the ingested amount is stored in the bones, the rest is excreted via the kidneys.
Sodium has important functions in the human body, it
- regulates the water balance together with potassium
- regulates the acid-base balance
- plays an important role in the transmission of nerve stimuli
- influences muscle contraction
- strengthens cell walls and bones
Which foods are particularly rich in sodium?
Sodium is found in combination with chloride in almost all foods, such as bread, sausages, ready meals, cheese, fish or soups.
- Adults: 550 mg
- Children up to 10 years: 460 mg
- Infants up to 1 year: 120-200 mg
Sodium in the kitchen
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In combination with chloride, sodium becomes common salt (NaCl) In addition to its taste component, salt has other properties in the kitchen.
Seasoning and preservative
In the kitchen, the mineral compound is mainly used for seasoning dishes, i.e. to enhance their taste. However, table salt can also be used to preserve food (pickling).
In addition, table salt is used in bread preparation to influence the gluten properties of the dough, prevent premature yeast fermentation and make the baked goods last longer.
Meat and sausage production
In meat and sausage production, sodium chloride is used for its protein-binding effect. Another sodium compound, sodium glutamate, is used as a flavor enhancer. The preservative properties of sodium nitrates and nitrites are valued on the curing salt.
In the course of cheese production, sodium chloride acts as a flavor enhancer and influences water activity during cheese ripening, which in turn produces the desired perforation.
Sodium content in 100g of a food product
The sodium content of raw plant foods is very low, with the exception of a few root vegetables. In households and in industrial processing, considerable amounts of common salt are used for taste reasons and for preservation. Accordingly, convenience foods and the product groups bread, baked goods, canned vegetables, sausages, cheese, or ketchup contain high concentrations of sodium.
Ready-made products are often additionally enriched with flavor enhancers containing sodium. In the course of processing, the potassium content of many foods decreases. This leads to a shift in the ratio of the two bulk elements.
How does a sodium deficiency manifest itself?
Deficiency states are rather rare. They can occur when those affected eat a diet lacking in salt or when diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are present and vomiting or diarrhea occur.
Signs of chronic deficiency include:
- fatigue, general weakness
- Concentration problems
- muscle twitching and cramps
- falling blood pressure
A permanent sodium deficiency may involve a high loss of electrolytes and thus affect the regulation of water balance.
How can sodium overdose occur?
A diet high in salt can lead to overdoses. As a result, more sodium and calcium are excreted by the kidneys, and osteoporosis may occur. High consumption of table salt can promote high blood pressure, cause water retention in the tissues and, in the worst case, lead to dehydration and cardiac dysfunction.
Sodium: Why do we often consume too much of it?
About three quarters of the daily sodium requirement is taken in via processed products (e.g. bread, cheese, sausage, meat), and only about 1% via natural foods. The high consumption of meat and sausage products, cheese or bread leads to an excessive salt intake, as hidden salts are contained here. The daily recommended amount of salt is about 5 grams, the average daily intake actually consumed in Austria is 8 grams. In fact, however, the amount of table salt in a piece of bread (about 120 grams) is already 2.4 grams.
Sodium: How can the salt intake be reduced?
In addition to a conscious and targeted selection of foods, salt consumption can also be reduced by using herbs and spices. Appropriate flavor-conserving cooking methods also help to reduce sodium intake. For example, less salt is needed when steaming or poaching. Milk and eggs already contain much higher sodium concentrations than raw plant foods. Other foods of animal origin, such as meat or fish, are added cooking salt during processing in the kitchen. These foods include, for example, ham or gravlax.
What is the greatest source of sodium in the diet quizlet?
The greatest source of sodium in the diet is from processed foods. Salt is often used as a preservative in processed foods, so these foods tend to have high levels of sodium. Some other sources of sodium in the diet include condiments like soy sauce and ketchup, as well as snacks like pretzels and chips.
What contributes the most sodium to the typical American diet?
There is no definitive answer to this question as the amount of sodium in the average American diet varies depending on individual lifestyle and eating habits. However, sources such as restaurants and grocery stores typically offer a wide variety of products and foods that contain significant levels of sodium, so it is difficult to say definitively which items contribute the most sodium to the diet. One common source of sodium is processed foods, such as candy and ice cream. Other sources of sodium include foods that are high in saturated fat, such as butter and oils.
What is the upper limit for sodium intake per day in the US quizlet?
The upper limit for sodium intake per day in the US is 2,300 mg.
What is the major intracellular electrolyte quizlet?
The major intracellular electrolyte is potassium. Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps regulate nerve and muscle function. It also helps maintain fluid balance and blood pressure.