Food sources and facts of Chloride


Chloride is the ion name for chlorine. Chlorine is an atom that is most comfortable when it removes an electron from another atom and as a result takes on a negative charge (Cl−). Chloride is a negative ion found primarily in the extracellular fluid. As electrolytes, sodium and potassium often overshadow chloride, but also chloride should not be underestimated in importance. Along with sodium and potassium, chloride helps to regulate fluid balance in the body.

In fact, chloride itself may be partially responsible for increases in blood pressure that accompany high-salt diets. Furthermore, chloride is involved in some interesting aspects of protein digestion as well as carbon dioxide elimination from the body. Chloride ions are also a component of the acid produced in the stomach (hydrochloric acid) and are important for overall maintenance of acid-base balance in the body. This electrolyte is used during immune responses as white blood cells attack foreign cells. In addition, nervous system function relies on the presence of chloride.

What foods offer Chloride in the diet?

Although some fruits or vegetables possess satisfactory amounts of chloride, the natural content of this mineral found in foods is low naturally. Chloride being a part of table salt is added to foods and is the major contributor of chloride in our diet. By 60 percent, sodium chloride is by weight, thus 1 gram of table salt is about 600 milligrams chloride. The minimum requirement for chloride for an adult is about 700 milligrams per day, yet the average American diet contains about six times this amount.

Food name Weight Chloride (mg) DV%
Raisin bran 1 cup 352 7%
Quinoa ½ cup 159 3%
White bread 1 slice 29 1%
Swiss chard 1 cup 961 20%
Potato 1 medium 926 20%
Acorn squash 1 cup 896 19%
Orange juice 1 cup 496 11%
Cantaloupe 1 cup 426 9%
Banana 1 medium 422 9%
Yogurt 1 cup 625 13%
Milk 1 cup 382 8%
Soymilk 1 cup 296 6%
Kidney beans ½ cup 358 8%
Sirloin steak 3 ounces 286 6%
Pistachios 285 1 ounce 6%

How Much Chloride Do We Need Daily?

The AI for chloride is 2.3 grams for younger adults and teens which includes pregnancy and lactation. As chloride is a fundamental component of sweat, people who sweat extensively such as athletes, may require little more sodium which could be found in foods. The AI for chloride decreases to 2.0 grams for people over 51 and then 1.8 grams over the age of 70.

What Happens with Too Little or Too Much Chloride Consumption?

In light of Americans’ heavy use of salt in food manufacturing, processing, and seasoning in the kitchen and at the table, chloride deficiencies are very rare. Western diets has much approximated minimum chloride requirement. So the potential for deficiency is considered to be low and is rarely seen. Still heavy and prolonged sweating causes excessive loss of chloride which in turn could impact the activity of muscle and the nervous system. Yet intake of food and beverages will recover lost chloride. Sport drinks or related products contribute chloride for athletes.

Similar to sodium and potassium, chloride is absorbed completely from the digestive tract. Thus, the accountability of regulating body chloride regulation is placed upon the kidneys. However, if the kidneys are not functioning optimally this can result in elevations in the chloride in body fluid along with the other electrolytes.

It obviously affects proper functioning of cells in the body, although all cells would become compromised.

Low levels of chloride in the blood can lead to a disturbance of the body’s acid-base balance. A chloride deficiency is unlikely, however, because our dietary salt intake is so high. Frequent and lengthy bouts of vomiting, if coupled with a nutrient-poor diet, can contribute to a deficiency because stomach secretions contain a lot of chloride. Individuals with bulimia or severe cases of gastroenteritis are at risk for chloride deficiency. In addition, low chloride levels could occur as a side effect of some medications, such as diuretics or laxatives.

The average adult typically consumes an excess of this mineral. Because chloride has a role in raising blood pressure, it is important that aging adults consciously control salt intake to decrease risk of developing hypertension. Learning at a young age to select lower-salt foods is the best way to start.

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