What is sodium and why do we need it?

What is sodium and why do we need it?

Sodium is an element that the body needs to function properly. Salt also contains sodium.


The body uses sodium to control blood pressure and blood volume. Your body needs sodium for proper functioning of the nerves as well as the muscles.

Sodium food sources:


Sodium is found naturally in most foods. The most common form of sodium is sodium chloride, known as salt. Milk, beets and celery also contain sodium. Drinking water also contains sodium, but the amount depends on the source of the water supply. Sodium may also be added to most foods. Some of these added forms are monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and sodium benzoate. Processed meats, vegetables and canned soups also contain added sodium. Fast foods are also usually high in sodium.

Sodium side effects:

Excessive sodium intake in the diet may lead to the following:

  • High blood pressure in some people
  • Increased severe fluid accumulation in people with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis or kidney disease


Sodium in the diet is measured in milligrams. Table salt contains 40% sodium. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. Healthy adults should limit their sodium intake to 2300 mg per day. People with high blood pressure should not consume more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. People with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis and kidney disease may need much lower doses. There is no specific recommendation for sodium intake in infants, children and adolescents. But you have to keep in mind that eating habits are formed during childhood. Therefore, it is better not to get our children used to eating too much salt from that time.