LOWERING SODIUM CONSUMPTION COULD BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Excess consumption of sodium could lead to different health problems, including headaches, heart disease, and high blood pressure. According to The American Heart Association, the daily sodium intake for most adults should be below 2,300 milligrams (almost one teaspoon). Adults who are over 50 years or are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, are advised to limit their daily sodium consumption to less than 1,500mg.
Athletes can consume a little more sodium than everyone else without facing any consequences (sodium is mostly discharged from the body through sweat). According to Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, chief of the nutrition division at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and an American Heart Association volunteer, the average American consumes over 3,500mg of salt on a daily basis. In fact, new research shows that too much sodium (above 2,300mg in a day) could have a negative impact on your immune system.
A Study On The Effects Of Sodium Intake
In order to determine the effect of excess sodium consumption on the body, Dr. Christian Kurts, a professor at the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn (Germany), gathered a group of volunteers who consumed an extra 6 grams (2,400mg) of salt on a daily basis (almost two fast-food meals) for one week. At the end of the study, he took note of the significant immune deficiencies caused by the excessive consumption of sodium. In this same study, it was discovered that mice which consumed a high-sodium diet had more bacterial infections. “Salt multiplies glucocorticoids (natural steroids that are found in the human body) and glucocorticoids repress the immune system,” says Kurts. In another study conducted before this one, it was discovered that high salt intake was the cause of various health issues, including impaired cell function, high level levels of inflammation and mutated gut microbiome. This could lead to chronic autoimmune diseases. Consuming excess salt for short periods – like during binge eating – can also cause immune system deficiencies, especially if you have underlying health issues like high blood pressure.
How To Lower Your Sodium Intake
To reduce the amount of sodium you consume, try to eat less of processed foods, including deli meats, white bread, cereal, etc. Also, remember to read the label of canned foods, so you can avoid products with high-sodium content. Condiments contain a lot of sodium (mustard, soy sauce, and ketchup are made are high in sodium) but most people are not aware of this. Rather than using the aforementioned condiments, you can go for sodium-free options like fresh herbs, garlic, pepper, and lemon to season your food.
Maintaining a strong immune system is easy but it requires some effort. You must ensure that your diet consists of more whole foods. Getting enough rest and exercising regularly is also important for building a healthy immune system.