Sodium, a fluidity element, keeps the body pliable and limber. One-third of the average adult’s three ounces of sodium is stored in the bones. The lymph system is very high in sodium, and the spleen is sometimes referred to as the “sodium organ”. Sodium helps prevent arthritis by keeping calcium and magnesium in solution in the joints. In the nerves, sodium-potassium balance is needed for the movement of electrical pulses. Sodium also plays an important role in neutralizing excess stomach acid and preventing the stomach and bowels from being destroyed by hydrochloric acid and enzymes. It also neutralizes bacteria in the stomach and intestinal tract and helps dissolve mucus in the stomach. Proper sodium creates beauty, smoothness and grace, improves memory, favors longevity and enhances youth. Salt poultices can be used to draw water from swollen tissues, useful for arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
Sodium is an essential mineral–not to be confused with salt, which is only 40 percent sodium. Only organic balanced sodium is beneficial. Refined salt of pure sodium chloride with anti-caking agents, anti-yellowing bleaches and glucose breaks down cell tissue, promotes calcification and is toxic to the body. Artificial high sodium diets–from refined (table) salt–make one prone to high blood pressure, kidney problems and heart disease. It accumulates in the body’s tissues, tearing out kidney fibers, hardening the urinary tract, causing backaches, pain and tightness, which can be relieved by drinking fluids.
Sodium deficiency is likely rare since the diets of most people provide too much sodium rather than not enough. However, in patients who take medications for high blood pressure sodium deficiency is not uncommon, especially if they also adhere to a “low-sodium” diet. Sodium deficiency can cause melancholy, depression, anxiety, restlessness, argumentativeness, a sense of an overheated nervous system and faulty memory. Sodium-deficient individuals may be apathetic or dull, have difficulty concentrating, have erratic judgment and even hysterical outbursts. At night time, they tend to be fearful and often wake up between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. Their dreams often include violence, snakes, storms, floods, death and destruction. Physically, sodium deficiency can cause joints to become weak and stiff and ligaments dry and contracted. The eye muscles lose elasticity, eyesight diminishes and eyelids twitch and sting. The voice may be weakened, with hoarseness, along with tender cervical glands. Other symptoms may include inadequate mucus secretions and loss of muscle strength, efficiency and coordination. Healthy food sources of sodium include apples, apricots, asparagus, beets, all greens, celery, dates, figs, kelp, okra and black olives.
Excess sodium can create a variation in moods, congestion in the body, decreased bile and pancreatic function. Excess sodium causes the body to excrete up to 9 times the normal amount of potassium from cells, causing edema, hypertension and other potassium deficiency symptoms. Excess sodium also inhibits energy production inside the cells, creating a breeding ground for cancer. Excess sodium levels are quite common, largely due to the fact that processed foods comprise a major portion of the American diet. Practically all processed, refined and fast foods contain very high amounts of sodium. Typically, the more processing the food undergoes, the more sodium it contains. Below are some examples of the sodium content of some processed foods. Certain foods may contain a lot more sodium than you’d expect them to, so stay away from the items with an asterisk (*):
Diet soda (8 oz.) = 29 mg. sodium
Regular soda (8 oz.) = 11 mg. sodium
*Bottled tomato or vegetable juice (6 oz.) = 659 mg. sodium
*1 oz. (1 slice) American cheese = 406 mg. sodium
*1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese = 528 mg. sodium
1 oz. cheddar cheese = 176 mg. sodium
*Table salt (1 teaspoon) = 2,325 mg. sodium
*MSG (monosodium glutamate) (1 teaspoon) = 6,975 mg. sodium
*Soy sauce (1 Tablespoon) = 1,029 mg. sodium
Catsup (1 Tablespoon) = 156 mg. sodium
1 slice bologna = 224 mg. sodium
2 slices bacon = 274 mg. sodium
1 patty pork sausage = 259 mg. sodium
*2 slices cured, lean ham = 1,494 mg. sodium
Other Processed Foods
*Canned and Boxed Soup varieties range from 872 to 1,152 mg. sodium.
*Macaroni & cheese (1 cup) = 1,086 mg. sodium
*Spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese (1 cup) = 955 mg. sodium
*Sauerkraut (one-half cup) = 777 mg. sodium
*Canned green beans or baked beans (1 cup) = 638 mg. sodium
1 oz. Cashews (dry, roasted and salted) = 150 mg. sodium
1 oz. Potato chips (14 chips) = 285 mg. sodium
*1 oz. Pretzel twists (10 pretzels) = 1,010 mg. sodium
1. Spiritual Nutrition; Gabriel Cousens, M.D.; 2005.
2. Anti-aging Manual: The Encyclopedia of Natural Health, 3rd ed.; Joseph B. Marion; 2005.
3. Healthy Bones; Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.; 1991.