What it does:

  • Helps regulate fluids in and out of body cells.
  • As a component of stomach acid, helps with the digestion of your food and the absorption of nutrients.
  • Helps transmit nerve impulses, or signals.

If you don't get enough: Because salt is such a common part of the diet, a deficiency of chloride isn't likely. If deficient, however, symptoms are similar to sodium deficiency.

If you consume excess amounts: For people who are sensitive, along with sodium, there may be a link to high blood pressure, but more study is needed. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 3,400 milligrams daily for kids ages nine to thirteen; after that, the UL is 3,600 milligrams daily for teens and adults.

How much you need: The Adequate Intake for all aged nine to fifty (including during pregnancy and breastfeeding) is 2,300 milligrams a day. For ages fifty-one to seventy years, it goes down to 2,000 milligrams a day; after age seventy, it's 1,800 milligrams daily.

Where it's mostly found: Salt is sodium plus chloride. Salt and salty foods are the main chloride sources: i/4 teaspoon of salt has 750 milligrams of chloride.

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