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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Sodium: Functions and Sources
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism


Sodium | Functions and Sources

What food source is the nutrient found in?

Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. It is even present in drinking water. Prepared foods contain the most sodium in the form of salt and food additives.

Convenience foods are designed to be quick and easy to transport, store prepare and eat. To do all this, they need stabilizers, preservatives, and ingredients to improve taste. Sodium does all of that. High amounts of sodium chloride are found in processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and ham, in canned soups and vegetables, and in many frozen foods. Most restaurant food is also high in sodium.

Food additives that contain sodium include:

  • monosodium glutamate, known as MSG
  • sodium nitrite
  • sodium saccharin
  • baking soda, known as sodium bicarbonate
  • sodium benzoate
  • How does the nutrient affect the body?

    Sodium performs the following key functions in the body:

  • regulates fluid balance by controlling the flow of liquids in and out of each cell
  • sparks nerve impulses
  • helps the body to process and digest proteins and carbohydrates

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    Sodium: Overview & Description


    Author: Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/29/02

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