Imbalance: Excess Sodium
background info | sodium recommendations
| adrenal recommendations | adrenal
Most of what is written about sodium intake is negative, but sodium
is essential to our existence and is necessary for the preservation
of our health. It plays a major role in regulating water balance,
acid-base balance, transferring nerve impulses, regulating muscle
action and transporting nutrients to all the body's cells. However,
we are concerned here with the negative effects of excess sodium
in the body.
Sodium (in salt) is added to most
processed foods and occurs naturally in smaller quantities in many
foods. For example, celery, beets, carrots and milk all contain
Excess sodium has been found to
cause elevated blood pressure levels, especially in the 20% to 40%
of the population with a family history of high blood pressure.
As well, in the general population there are possible connections
between high levels of sodium and changes in the level of stomach
acid secretion, stomach cancer, migraine headaches and blood vessel
disease in the heart and brain.
Sodium is a necessary nutrient
and most people are not bothered by having a little salt in their
diet. But, if you have a high
score you should try not to add salt to your food at the table,
or in cooking, unless it is absolutely necessary. Some foods to
cut back, or eliminate, to help reduce sodium levels are bacon,
salami, ham, cheese and most processed and prepared foods including
typical fast food meals.
Also, if you have high blood pressure
you may be sensitive to salt, although not everyone with high blood
pressure is salt sensitive. If you have any heart or kidney
problems you should avoid salt.
To help balance sodium levels,
eat more foods rich in potassium: potatoes,
peas, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, bananas, apricots, fresh leafy
greens, cantaloupe, avocados, parsley, citrus fruits, crushed sunflower
seeds, figs, peaches (especially dried) and turkey.
glands are essential for maintaining normal sodium levels, so
I am including here some information on how you can keep your adrenals
If your adrenal glands are undernourished
you might have a high score
on one or both of the "underactive"
or "overactive" adrenals categories.
Undernourished adrenals make optimum
health impossible to achieve. A well balanced diet is essential
to adrenal health and potassium is one of the most important nutrients
for the adrenal glands. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources
of potassium. Try to include more of
the following in your diet: carrots, corn, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes,
asparagus, lima beans, spinach, apples, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe,
oranges, peaches, plums, strawberries and sea vegetables (arame,
bladder wrack, dulse, hijiki, kelp, kombu, nori, sea palm and wakame).
Sea vegetables are such a good source of many minerals that I advise
adding them to your diet right away. They can be chopped in the
food processor or blender and sprinkled over food, or added to soup
after it is cooked. Chicken and fish are also good sources. If you
can add enough of these foods to your diet you shouldn't need a
potassium supplement, other than a good multivitamin/mineral tablet.
Keeping your salt intake low will also help avoid potassium deficiency.
It's possible to put your system more out of balance by taking single-dose
acid (vitamin B-5) is also extremely important for the adrenals.
It is in whole grains, lentils, beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli,
salmon, liver, tomatoes and peanuts. If you do not eat several servings
of these foods daily, you should take a B complex
tablet with at least 50mg of pantothenic acid. (All supplements
must be taken with a meal.) You may want to take 500mg of vitamin
C with bioflavonoids and 200 I.U.'s vitamin
E daily for several months (if your
chart also shows deficiencies in those vitamins). If you have
a high score, take an extra pantothenic acid supplement for three
to four months, for a total of 500mg daily.
A green food powdered supplement
that is dissolved in water or diluted juice would be an excellent
supplement for you. It would give you a quick green boost (minerals)
and, since it is a food-source supplement, it is easily absorbed.
Wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella and sometimes alfalfa
are the main ingredients. They supply an extra boost of vegetable
protein, minerals, a wide range of vitamins and chlorophyl (good
for your liver). Wakunaga Kyo-Green would be a good one to try (it's
not too expensive) but there are others available if you can't find
it. Green superfoods are really good fatigue fighters, too --
and can help prevent food cravings when taken between meals.
Cut back on red meat, fatty foods,
alcohol, caffeine and refined foods. Try to eat several small meals
a day, rather than three larger meals.
Some foods that are particularly
good for thyroid/adrenal health: seafood
(especially cold water fish), sea vegetables like dulse, legumes
such as black beans and lentils, yams, raw sesame and pumpkin seeds,
brown rice, fresh figs and raisins. The sea vegetables are especially
powerful -- very high in minerals, B vitamins and other nutrients.
Stress (especially anger) plays
a large part in wearing down the adrenals and learning stress modification
techniques is crucial in restoring their vitality. Moderate enjoyable
exercise, such as walking, is very relaxing and beneficial for adrenal
health. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and massage
therapy can be very effective in rebalancing adrenal glands.
Since your adrenals are the body's
first defense against any allergens it is common for allergies
to accompany adrenal stress. Adrenals are also responsible for preventing
blood sugar drops during periods of heavy stress. Therefore adrenal
imbalances may also be accompanied by blood
If improved diet and relaxation
techniques do not appear to alleviate your symptoms completely,
you might consider a consultation with a holistic doctor. There
are some very effective, safe herbal compounds which can help rebalance
the adrenals, but they should be prescribed by a naturopath, a homeopath
or another holistic doctor.
self-test to check adrenal health:
You will need a blood pressure
down and rest for five minutes.
After five minutes, take your blood pressure (while lying down).
Next, stand up and immediately take another reading.
If your blood pressure is lower
after you stand up, your adrenals may be functioning poorly.