Salt is a vital mineral that is needed for the healthy functioning of the human body. However, most modern diets contain too much salt that can lead to hypernatremia, or an imbalance of the amounts of salt and water in the body.
In short term, it will lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and long term it leads to osteoporosis.
The recommended daily intake for the average person is around 6 grams of salt per day, but average consumption is closer to twice that number.
Salt should not be cut out of a diet completely, but the vast majority of people should try to reduce their current salt intake. The long-term damage of a high salt intake is not worth the immediate convenience of modern processed foods.
Salt intake is important for your body to function properly. Sodium, one of the key ingredients in table salt, regulates blood flow and pressure, and helps transmit messages between nerves and muscle fibers,while Chloride,aids the process of digestion.
Foods in your diet need to have enough salt replenish these nutrients to keep you healthy. But too much salt can damage your health.
Processed foods are packed with the stuff.Restaurants add more salt to their food to make it taste better.
So how do you tell when you are consuming too much salt?
Processed and Fast Foods
If a large part of your diet consists of processed and fast foods, you are almost certainly taking in too much salt. In fact, 77% of salt in the average US diet comes from processed foods .Salt is added to these foods to increase their storage life and to make them taste better.
Try to reduce the amounts of processed foods in your diet, replacing them with fresh, whole foods, or if necessary, with processed foods that have been labeled as low salt or low sodium.
Hypernatremia occurs when a person becomes dehydrated and the kidneys cannot cope with excess salt in the bloodstream.
This condition can happen when:
- people have been vomiting
- have a fever
- exercising too much
- not replacing fluids
- too much salt in their system from drinking salty sports drinks or tablets, or from salty foods.
This is a serious condition that can lead to brain damage, and anyone with these symptoms should be given fluids and immediate medical help.Some of the symptoms include irritability, muscle cramps, confusion, depression and vomiting.
Salt can cause water retention as the body tries to dilute the salt with large amounts of water. This can cause bloating which is uncomfortable and may be unattractive. The best way to reduce bloating, is to drink more water, which will help to flush the salt out of your system.
Generally people who are consuming too much salt tend to also be more thirsty, although this could also be caused by environmental or lifestyle factors, or by other underlying conditions like diabetes.
Many people don’t realize it is a problem until they develop the long-term effects, such as high blood pressure, which itself may not have many symptoms.
Blood tests may be ordered as part of a full health check in order to determine the levels of sodium in your tissues,especially if high blood pressure have been already established.
People who consume high-sodium diets usually urinate more often because of all the excess water. Every time you urinate, your body loses calcium ,the mineral that among other things, makes strong bones and teeth.
By urinating too often,the body might lose too much calcium,which leads to weakening the bones and exacerbating osteoporosis.
However,if you are a big salt in-taker,you should consider all the negativity from such habit ,if you want to maintain your good heath for years to come.