For conditions like heart disease, many patients are advised by doctors to limit their sodium intake. This often entails avoiding processed foods that contain excess sodium and minimizing the addition of table salt during meals. But if you have hard water, you may wonder about the effects of your water softening system on your sodium intake, and whether it is a significant problem. In short, the answer is “No.” Water softening systems add a negligible amount of sodium, and the foods that you eat are, by far, the largest source of sodium in the average diet.
Water Softening Systems and Sodium Intake
Water softening systems work by replacing ions of magnesium and calcium with sodium, which helps to rinse the unwanted minerals from the water. According to the Mayo Clinic, treated water has very little sodium, about 30 to 50 milligrams per liter or about 12 milligrams per 8-ounce glass when the water has a hardness of 10 grains per gallon. Compared to processed food or table salt, this is very little. A tablespoon of salad dressing, for example, can contain 170 milligrams of sodium, while an 8-ounce glass of milk can contain 120 milligrams, and a can of soda can contain more than 40 milligrams.
Water softening systems add very little sodium to your diet, while providing several net benefits, including:
- Protecting your fixtures and plumbing from mineral accumulations
- The reduction of soap scum deposits in tubs and showers
- Reduction of lime scale on pots and pans
- Improved performance of detergents and soaps
- More comfortable showers and baths
- Easier cleaning
For most people, the advantages of a water softening system greatly outweigh any disadvantages, including the slight increased sodium content of the water.
Ways to Reduce Sodium Content
If you are still hesitant about the addition of sodium to your water, you can reduce the problem by adding a reverse osmosis system to remove salt after the treatment process. Other options include choosing potassium-chloride as a softening agent or treating only the hot water side of the system, while allowing the untreated cold water to be used for drinking and cooking.
Water Softening Solutions in Maryland
At Water Doctor, we provide water softening solutions, as well as reverse osmosis systems that can reduce salt content. Since 1979, we have been proving quality water testing and treatment services throughout Maryland.