All About Sodium

Many Americans suffer from high sodium levels, which is no wonder thanks to the amount of processed foods and restaurant meals the average person in this country consumes. Adults shouldn't consume more than six grams of salt per day, which equates to about one tablespoon, or 2.4 grams.

Too much sodium is bad news. When we have too much sodium, the extra water in our body and cells causes our blood pressure to rise. These high blood pressure levels places a large strain on the heart, among other organs in the body. Prolonged high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease.

Now, sodium isn't all bad. Especially when exercising in hot temperatures, sodium is important for regulating the concentration of your body fluids and helping your cells to absorb nutrients. While we workout, sodium can regulate muscle contraction, nerve function and blood volume. Low sodium can cause muscle cramps, dehydration, or even organ failure. The average gym-goer can lose around one liter of sweat per hour of exercise. Runners, especially, lose a lot of salt when they train, which understandably leads to salt cravings post-workout. If you feel this craving after a workout, go ahead and have a salty snack around 200 mg to replenish the loss.


If you're looking for ways to decrease your daily sodium levels, try the following:

  1. Ditch the table salt - use Kosher salt sparingly

  2. Try using different herbs and spices

  3. Ditch the processed foods

  4. Check nutrition labels for sodium content

  5. Use sauces sparingly

  6. Remember, however, to listen to your body. If you are experiencing muscle cramps and more fatigue than normal after a workout, try increasing that sodium intake.

Allison Raines 
BHC Nutrition Coach