Our Response to the Sodium Question
The truth about sodium.
Time for truth bombs about sodium, folks. This is a deeper dive … more than a 2-minute read. But I’m telling you … read the whole thing. You will benefit by knowing this stuff.
We often get comments on social media like, “There's too much sodium in your meals!” and variations on that theme.
While I am all good with people communicating their opinions, I am not good with ignorance … especially ignorance that is trotted out as knowledge in my crib about Elements whole food.
So, today, I am calling out sodium ignorance … and drilling down on sodium truth.
NEWS FLASH! Mother Nature serves up sodium in nearly ALL whole foods … including all meats and nearly all vegetables.
So, let’s assume that US government and world policy organizations attempting to regulate sodium intake are correct (huge assumption). The CDC says 2,300 mg of sodium per day is a very safe.
By the way, there is a huge amount of scientific evidence that demonstrates consuming between 3,500 mg and 6,000 mg of sodium per day is very safe, too.
Do you eat clean, whole foods? Then you are eating sodium. Read that again...
Perhaps you are not aware of how much sodium you are ingesting because, fortunately, Mother Nature is not required to put a USDA nutrition label on every vegetable, fruit, and animal she shares with us.
A sampling of Mother Nature’s sodium bounty:
Veggies with 35 mg – 120 mg per serving:
Leaf lettuces, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, turnips, parsnips, peas, lentils, beans, kale, corn
Veggies with 140 mg – 170 mg of sodium per serving:
Broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, celery, radishes, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes
Veggies with 170 mg – 200 mg per serving:
Green beans, spinach, beets, artichokes, and chard (300 mg per serving)
Mother Nature also gives us sodium in her animal proteins.
70 mg – 140 mg per serving:
Turkey, pork, beef, chicken, veal, lamb
Eggs, one of the healthiest protein sources on the planet, have 140 mg of sodium per serving!
Dietary sodium and Elements Meals.
Here’s a list of Elements’ whole-food ingredients that naturally contain the dietary sodium you need to get and stay healthy and happy:
Animal proteins – pork, turkey, chicken, sausage, and eggs
Vegetables and fruits – tomatoes, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, spinach, kale, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, lentils, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, avocado, habanero peppers, green chili peppers, coconut, coconut water, parsley, green onions, zucchini, raisins, green beans, and mango
Herbs and spices – ginger, nutmeg, marjoram, cumin, turmeric, mustard seed, sesame seed, cinnamon, cilantro, garlic, fennel seed, sage, and paprika
All these delicious whole foods deliver necessary dietary sodium to your body, as well as other needed minerals.
Bottom line: If you are eating clean, whole foods, you are eating and enjoying sodium! And it’s a good thing! Without enough sodium, your body cannot function. In fact, did you know that your chances of dying from comorbidities is higher if you do not eat enough sodium than if you eat too much? It’s true.
Elements Meals are dietary, sodium-inherent meals.
In response to the sodium haters and fence-sitters, or to those who simply need to increase their sodium knowledge …
Understand this … Elements Meals are sodium-inherent meals. In other words, the majority of the sodium in Elements Meals is naturally inherent in our mineral-rich, whole food ingredients.
Guess how many of our nine (9) meals include premium, whole-food ingredients that naturally contain sodium? If you said “ALL,” you are correct.
And get this … Dietary sodium that occurs naturally in whole foods is the optimal source for the stuff. Did you know that the minerals we need to stay alive, to be healthy, and to enjoy proper organ function, and strong cell replication come to us in whole foods?
Thank goodness! What’s more, these minerals come in “teams” … in groups. These teams of minerals help each other to be more efficient, help our bodies process them, and increase the bioavailability of the whole foods we eat.
Most of your body’s sodium is in your blood and the fluid in and around your cells. In fact, I can safely say that you are a salt-water creature! Sodium helps your body keep fluids in a normal balance and plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function.
“Sodium is an essential nutrient involved in the maintenance of normal cellular homeostasis and in the regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Its role is crucial for maintaining external cellular function volume because of its important osmotic action and is equally important for the excitability of muscle and nerve cells and for the transport of nutrients and substrates through plasma membranes.”
Think hard about that. Sodium is also responsible for helping the food you eat be bioavailable to your cells … among many other functions.
Here is a good book on the topic of sodium: The regulation of sodium and chloride balance, New York, Raven Press, 1990, by D. W. Seldin and G. Giebisch.
Elements Meals – added salt and trace minerals.
Each Elements Meal has a dash of added sodium … in the form of salt. We use a natural salt product sourced from a mineral spring in Utah.
In addition to sodium chloride, the salt we use also includes trace amounts of calcium, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, iodine, manganese, copper, and zinc. Exceptionally good jazz.
You get a massive benefit from this salt because these trace minerals are much more bioavailable as a tribe than as individuals. And, again, your body needs these trace minerals to function well. You’re welcome!
The math of salt and sodium.
To get even further into the nitty-gritty of sodium, let’s do some math. Salt is a combination of minerals, e.g. sodium (40%) and chloride (60%). In other words, one (1) gram of sodium chloride (table salt) includes 0.3934 grams of sodium.
Several Elements Meals have 530 mg of sodium, or 0.2379 of a teaspoon. This is 22.08% of the daily amount currently recommended by the USDA based on a 2,000 calories diet.
This means that eating five (5) Elements Meals a day would help you get the high-quality sodium you need to stay healthy.
Does that sound like Elements Meals are “high” in sodium?
No. Of course not. In fact, the salt we add to each meal is about 1/16 of a teaspoon … which means that the sodium component is only 40% of that amount, or about 1/30 of a teaspoon!
Do not rely on government policy for your health advice. Haven’t we learned a bit about that this year? Heck, most medical doctors don’t know enough about nutrition to fill a thimble.
If one of these doctors is telling you to limit your “sodium intake,” they are probably talking about your "table salt intake", not the inherent sodium found in Mother Nature’s whole food ingredients!
So, before you start accepting uninformed advice about reducing your sodium intake, I think you're better off discovering how much you're ingesting by eating whole foods.
If you fall into this category, get educated. It will ease your fears and help you live a healthier, happier life. Start by reading the book mentioned above.
Your personal sodium in-take … listen to your body. I am serious about this. Learning to listen to our body is an exciting and wondrous talent you can develop.
I think this approach is a tremendously helpful guide given the inconclusive, ambiguous bases upon which government policy and regulation is built. Don’t believe that the science on the sodium intake issue is unsettled? Check this out:
“The issue of sodium intake continues to be a major focus of nutrition policymakers and regulators. Emerging evidence indicating that low sodium intakes might actually be harmful caused the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene an expert panel to reevaluate the 2005 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for sodium.
"That reevaluation, just recently released, cautiously backs away from the stringent restrictions of the 2005 DRIs for sodium, noting that the evidence ‘does not support reduction in sodium intake to below 2,300mg/day.’
"The one thing that seems clear in the discussions and controversy swirling around this issue is that there is no policy consensus concerning what may be optimal sodium intake or what may be the balance of harm and benefit as a result of reducing sodium intake below the current US average (3,400–3,600mg/day).”
Read the cited article here:
Take charge of your own health! You can do it!
Know someone with health issues that needs whole food nutrition help? You just may want to suggest Elements Meals. We make eating well easy, simple, and delicious.