When you want to add some flavor into your cooking, you reach for the white stuff in your kitchen cabinet without thinking. While it is true that the easiest way to improve flavor of bland recipes is by adding salt, it is also equally true that too much salt is a major contributor to many serious health conditions.
Some people are more sensitive to salt than others but regardless of sensitivity, its intake should be seriously limited. To kick things off here’s a look at some of the most common yet serious health concerns that are directly linked to the consumption of salt.
High Blood Pressure
Normally the kidneys regulate sodium levels by passing out excess into the urine where it is expelled from the body. However, in situations where sodium intake reaches very high levels, the kidneys become unable to keep track of the extra salt and it finds its way into the bloodstream.
With too much salt in the blood, more water is also attracted there. The increased amount of water increases blood volume causing a rise in blood pressure.
Excess salt supplies start to layer inside the walls of the arteries forming plaque that result in constricting the blood flow within them. This clogging action could over time lead to artery blockage where it may result in severe heart conditions.
Under normal conditions, salt in the body is well regulated. But if the kidneys fail to maintain this balance by not eliminating excess salt, then the excess salt stays as well as the water that it tends to attract.
Edema occurs because of too much salt retention in the body. When excess water leaks through the intestinal tissue, it is reflected as edema. Edema is a symptom that indicates that the body can be under stress.
Although salt has no calories on its own, the foods that it is used in have huge amounts. Moreover, eating salty foods leads to cravings for something sweet and we all know where the road leads. The lethal combination of salt and sugar together completes the equation that is apparent in obesity.
Though these conditions are all related to the direct consumption of salt, let us not forget that there are also many hidden sources of this ingredient. It is found in multiple processed foods whether salty or sweet and should be avoided. The best way to do so is to read all labels carefully and stay away from all processed sodium sources.
There are many ways that salt intake can be reduced.
- Eating more of natural and unprocessed food is one way as these have lower amounts of sodium.
- Always try and choose products with the lowest amount of sodium.
- When cooking food yourself, always try to reduce the salt used in the recipe. Try to lower it gradually, which is easier than cutting it off all of a sudden. Add fresh herbs instead.
- Trying other substitute salts is also a good option. For example, Himalayan salt is a healthy alternative. It takes time to adjust but is much healthier compared to traditional table salt.