Warning Signs of Consuming Too Much Salt That Most People Ignore
Salt is something most of us use to season our food on a daily basis. Moderation has been suggested and many fret about the amounts they consume.
Table salt contains 40% sodium and 60% percent chloride, which means each teaspoon of salt provides about 2,000 milligrams of sodium.
It is recommended to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (which is about slightly more than one teaspoon of salt). However, the average consumption of salt is at least twice the recommended daily intake.1 Excess salt can lead to long-term health effects.
You need to pay close attention the warning signs of salt over consumption, as diets that are high in salt have noticeable short-term and long-term problems.
Warning Signs of Consuming too Much Salt
Sodium makes you thirsty because too much of it disrupts the balance of fluid in your cells. As our salt intake increases, our bodies pull the water out of our cells into the bloodstream. In this process our brain gets triggered that we need water and make you crave water.
The bloated feeling you get after consuming excess sodium is a result of fluid buildup, which makes you feel uncomfortable and increases your blood volume, causing your heart to work harder.
Excess salt consumption is one of the top 10 reasons for swollen ankles legs and feet.
When excessive salt makes the levels of sodium increase, your body retains water. As extra fluids build up in tissues, the symptom that appears is swelling. This swelling, called edema, affects various parts of the body, but often occurs in the face, hands, legs, ankles and feet. One of the 6 tricks for shedding water weight is to reduce the consumption of salt.
Take note of cravings for salty foods as this can be a warning sign to excess consumption of salt. Becoming fond of salty foods can lead to other foods tasting bland. These cravings might be the indication that there is too much salt in your diet.
High Blood Pressure
Salt works on your kidneys to make your body hold on to more water. This extra stored water raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your kidneys, arteries, heart and brain. The extra blood pressure caused by eating too much salt puts extra strain on the insides of your arteries.
To cope with the extra strain, the tiny muscles in the artery walls become stronger and thicker. Yet this only makes the space inside the arteries smaller and raises your blood pressure even higher.
Long Term Effects of Excess Salt Consumption
Our bodies try to warn you through signs before it causes serious damage, which should be closely paid attention to. Long-term effects of over consumption of salt can distress our kidneys, bones, heart, skin, and stomach. Osteoporosis, kidney stones, edema, and stomach cancer can potentially develop with high salt intake. 2
Diet and digestion play an essential role in preventing and healing osteoporosis.
Excess salt increases calcium loss in the urine, where some of it is taken from the bones. Urine flushing out the excess calcium has been linked to osteoporosis due to bone thinning. 3
The kidneys are in charge of retaining water and get rid of water. High salt intake can hinder this process due to less water being removed by the body. Kidney stones are caused by urinary calcium. Urinary calcium is increased with high salt intake.
Consumption of too much sodium is also one of the 15 common habits that can damage your kidneys.
Heavily salted and proceeded food may increase the risk of stomach cancer and it’s also one of top 5 cancer causing foods to avoid.
This may explain why there is such a high rate of stomach cancer in Japan, where salty, pickled foods are popular. An epidemiological study published in June 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet high in salt can increase in 10% the risk of stomach cancer.
According to a research published in Infect Immun. 2013, High concentrations of salt in the stomach appear to induce gene activity in the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, making it more virulent and increasing the likelihood of an infected person developing a severe gastric disease and even cancer.
Tips for Reducing Your Salt Intake
Avoid Processed Food
It can be considerably easy to decrease salt intake. Changing daily habits from fast food and large consumption of processed food to fresh produce can significantly decrease salt consumption. According to the American Heart Association, about 75% of the sodium we consume comes not from the salt shaker, but rather in processed and restaurant food.
Look for Sodium Content in the Food Labels
You need to pay close attention to what’s written in the food label. Most people will only consider the calorie intake, serving sizes, sugar count, and maybe the nutritional benefits like vitamins, when deciding to buy products.
However, you also need to pay close attention to the amount of sodium, as some products may appear healthy but in fact they are loaded with sodium (for example: this seemingly healthy product is loaded with sodium). Reading food labels is also one of the 70 habits featured in the e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Explore Other Seasonings
Salt isn’t your only option. You can brighten flavors with freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, and create a pop on your palate with balsamic or wine vinegars. Or add some heat with fresh hot peppers or red pepper flakes.
Replace Table Salt With This Healthy Salt
Regular table salt, most commonly found in kitchens and restaurants around the world, has little in common with natural salt. This salt is usually highly refined. It’s almost pure sodium chloride (97% or more), with added chemicals, such as absorbents and anti-caking agents. Use this salt which has incredible health benefits.
Don’t Completely Avoid Salt
While it’s true that too much sodium is bad for health, people shouldn’t live in fear of consuming sodium moderately. Depriving yourself of the mineral could leave your body worse off than having a bit too much. Simply avoid as much as you can processed foods, try and stay mindful of your sodium intake and try to use different types of salt to enjoy their health benefits.
This is a guest post written by Mckenzie Schroeder, a student at Ohio University who studies a business related field, that loves living an organic, healthy lifestyle and hopes to work for an environmental firm in the future. Visit her linkedin page.