Sodium is an essential electrolyte that plays a key role in controlling the distribution and movement of fluids and the functions of the nervous system. Sodium levels vary depending on the amount in the diet and the amount excreted in urine and sweat. A decrease in sodium levels (hyponatremia) occurs when the amount of sodium in the body falls below normal levels. This condition can be caused by excessive fluid intake, vomiting, diarrhea, burns, kidney problems, and a variety of other conditions. To maintain normal sodium levels, you need to see your doctor to address the underlying causes of sodium loss and make changes to your diet.
Method 1 of 2: Eliminate Low Sodium Levels by Changing Your Diet
Step 1. Include naturally high sodium foods in your diet
Some foods contain more sodium than others. Include more of these foods in your diet to increase your sodium levels.
- Try 1-2 servings of the following sodium-rich foods daily: fish and shellfish, beets and spinach, artichokes, seaweed, red meat, and eggs.
- Also include foods high in salt and other health benefits. Sauerkraut and kimchi, for example, are not only high in sodium but also good for digestion.
- Don't consume too many processed foods. Besides being high in sodium, they are also high in sugar, fat, and calories. This goes against our goal of improving sodium levels in the healthiest way possible.
Step 2. Add salt to food and during cooking
This is a good way to increase sodium levels in the body.
- One teaspoon of salt (6 g) contains 2300-2500 mg of sodium. Sprinkle some salt on your food and when cooking.
- When choosing ready-made sauces, marinades, or canned foods, avoid low-sodium foods. Try shopping for foods with a higher salt content. For example, buy salted butter instead of regular butter.
Step 3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
These fluids help lower sodium levels in the body. This is because they cause electrolyte imbalances and act as mild diuretics.
- Avoid the following caffeinated drinks: coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Also, beware of bottled juices and sports drinks that promise "boost" as they may also contain caffeine.
- Although alcohol can be consumed from time to time, cut it out entirely if you have low sodium levels and find it difficult to get it back to normal.
Step 4. Reduce your water consumption
Reducing your intake of water and other clear liquids will help raise your sodium levels. Too much water can dilute sodium in the blood, preventing it from returning to normal levels.
- Yes, water is important for the body, but it is important to avoid excess water. Listen to your body - feeling thirsty will tell you when to drink water. If you are not thirsty, then there is enough fluid in your body.
- Also, pay attention to the color of your urine. If your urine is pale yellow and you go to the bathroom 4-6 times a day, you are drinking enough fluids.
- If you reduce your water intake, your body can naturally increase its sodium to water ratio. It is much easier and much more effective than replacing sodium.
Step 5. Drink sports drinks
These drinks contain electrolytes and ample amounts of minerals, including sodium.
- Even low-calorie and diet sports drinks are high in sodium and other beneficial electrolytes.
- Sports drinks are also a great way to restore temporarily low sodium levels after a hard workout.
Step 6: Drink oral rehydration solutions to increase sodium in case of severe fluid loss
Oral rehydration solutions are especially helpful for diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating.
- These solutions can be purchased without a prescription. As a rule, they need to be diluted in 1 liter of water and drunk at a time.
- This solution can be prepared at home. To do this, take 6 teaspoons (30 g) of sugar and ¾ teaspoon (4.5 g) of salt and dissolve in 950 ml of water. To make the solution more enjoyable to drink, add a powdery fragrance to it.
- Coconut water is an excellent substitute as it contains natural electrolytes to maintain a healthy fluid balance.
Method 2 of 2: Treating mild cases of low sodium
Step 1. Consult your doctor
If you have low sodium levels and are unable to fix it with dietary and lifestyle changes, you should definitely check with your doctor. He will tell you how to correctly and safely solve this problem.
- Your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications to help normalize sodium levels. Always follow these guidelines before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
- Ask your doctor about how you can get your sodium levels back to normal.
Step 2. Take medications for nausea
If your low sodium levels are caused by vomiting, try an over-the-counter nausea medication. This will help you avoid excessive fluid loss from vomiting.
- During vomiting, a person vomits most of the stomach contents, including water, sodium, and other electrolytes.
- During severe vomiting, such as from a rotavirus infection or other bacterial disease, it is possible to lose so much water and sodium that sodium levels can drop to dangerously low levels.
- Try to cope with nausea and vomiting not only with medicines for nausea, but also with folk remedies. Ginger tea and soda, and eating smaller meals more often can help relieve nausea and vomiting.
- Always check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drug.
Step 3. Take antidiarrheal medications
Diarrhea is another common cause of low sodium levels. Take an over-the-counter remedy for diarrhea and low sodium levels.
- During diarrhea, a lot of fluids are excreted from the body, which is why it does not have time to absorb all the necessary minerals, including sodium.
- Take antidiarrheal medications to relieve diarrhea and give your body time to restore sodium levels.
- In addition to medication, diarrhea can also be managed naturally. Try to include non-fibrous lean foods such as bananas, white rice, and crackers in your diet. Also, avoid dairy and high-fiber foods, which can worsen diarrhea.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication.