Sodium, commonly found in table salt and other processed foods, is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining bodily functions such as blood pressure, nerve function, and fluid balance. However, too much sodium intake can have negative health consequences, particularly for those with hypertension or high blood pressure. Here are a few reasons why reducing sodium intake is essential for overall health.
Reduces the Risk of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the leading causes of high blood pressure is a high-sodium diet. Sodium causes the body to retain water, which in turn increases the volume of blood in the body. This extra volume places a strain on the heart and blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. By reducing sodium intake, individuals can help lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of developing hypertension.
2. Decreases the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
High blood pressure is a risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. By reducing sodium intake, individuals can lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of developing these conditions. Furthermore, a diet high in sodium is often associated with an unhealthy diet, which can contribute to obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases. Cardiovascular disease is already a leading cause of death for those with Lupus so lowering your risk is doubly important.
3. Promotes Kidney Health
The kidneys play an essential role in maintaining fluid balance in the body. However, too much sodium intake can put a strain on the kidneys, leading to kidney damage and disease. By reducing sodium intake, individuals can help protect their kidneys and promote overall kidney health. If you are diagnosed with Lupus nephritis or have noticed your kidney labs are affected by your Lupus flares, this is also even more important to pay attention to!
4. Improves Bone Health
Studies have shown that a high-sodium diet can contribute to bone loss and osteoporosis. When the body loses calcium, it draws calcium from the bones, making them weaker and more susceptible to fractures. By reducing sodium intake, individuals can help promote bone health and reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis. If you take steroids, your bone health is already affected, so reducing sodium intake can mitigate the damage to your bones.
5. Lowers the Risk of Stomach Cancer
Research has shown that a high-sodium diet is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer. This is thought to be because salt acts as a preservative, allowing harmful bacteria to thrive in the stomach. By reducing sodium intake, individuals can help lower their risk of developing stomach cancer.
In conclusion, reducing sodium intake is essential for overall health and well-being. By cutting back on processed and high-sodium foods, individuals can reduce their risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, kidney damage, bone loss, and stomach cancer. While it may take some time to adjust to a lower-sodium diet, the long-term health benefits are worth it.
The Lupus Dietitian