What is sodium?

Sodium is an essential mineral that helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance as well as blood pressure. The body needs a small amount of sodium to work correctly, but too much is detrimental to your health. Overeating sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Sodium Benefits

  • Controls blood volume
  • Maintains fluid balance
  • Assists with kidney function
  • Conducts nerve impulses
  • Helps contract and relax muscles

How much sodium do you need per day?

For men and women 14 years of age and older, the recommended adequate intake (AI) of sodium is 1,500 milligrams per day. Most people get far more sodium than they need from the food they eat. In fact, many people have trouble keeping up with excess sodium in the blood.

Natural sources of sodium

  • Salt
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Dairy milk

Learn about sodium deficiency symptoms.

Further reading: Harvard School of Public Health