Sodium is often associate with high blood pressure, this is a bit misleading as sodium is responsible for regulating blood pressure, when consumed in moderation, it should not raise overall blood pressure levels.
Sodium is utilized by the body to regulate blood pressure as well as blood volume. Sodium also plays a role in the functioning of nerves and muscles.
Sources of sodium
There is a natural occurrence of sodium in almost all foods. Table salt (sodium chloride) is known as one of the most popular sources of sodium.
Sodium is often added to a variety of foods in the following forms: monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and sodium benzoate. These types of sodium are found in condiments and seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, and bouillon cubes.
Processed meats like bacon, sausage, ham, deli meats, canned soup, and fast food generally contain high amounts of sodium and should be consumed sparingly.
There are no recommended daily amounts of sodium1. There are only recommended daily limits. For healthy adults, this daily limit is set at 2,300mg while an individual who suffers from high blood pressure should limit their daily intake to less than 1500mg. There are no specific limits given for people under 18 years of age but sodium consumed in moderation is recommended. A doctor may place an individual on a lower daily limit to manage a specific condition that person may be experiencing.
Sodium side effects
A lack of sodium, often a result of severe perspiration, may result in fatigue and dizziness. An excessive amount of sodium may lead to high blood pressure. Too much sodium in individuals that suffer from congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, or kidney disease may lead to a serious build-up of fluid.
1Sodium in diet - All Information - http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/002415all.htm
Sodium in diet - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002415.htm