Salt is the central ingredient in the preparation of almost every food item but too much salt can be dangerous. Even though it can be satisfying to our taste buds, we should be aware of a food’s salt content, especially in our later years in life.
The sodium component of salt is important for the underlying mechanism responsible for muscle contraction and movement. Moreover, sodium also controls the chemical part of the transmission of nerve impulses. Sodium and potassium channels maintain the balance of different fluids within the body. In short, the use of salt has many medical implications.
But under and over-consumption of salt are not healthy for the human body and the latter has more detrimental repercussions. In this article, we will discuss what health dangers are involved with the excessive use of salt. We will also talk about the signs that indicate that you are eating too much salt.
But before we move on, it would be apt to talk about the healthy levels of daily salt intake.
Healthy Daily Salt Consumption
Medical professionals and health authorities have been advising people to limit their salt consumption for a long time. It has been estimated that an adult body needs around 200 mg of sodium every day for healthy functioning.
However, it’s nearly impossible to consume this small amount of salt while maintaining the other nutritional requirements of the body. For that matter, the National Academy of Medicine prescribes that healthy adults can consume 1500 mg of sodium every day to prevent any pertaining adverse effects.
The Academy along with the US Department of Health and Human Service also recommends that people should not exceed their sodium intake of 2,300 mg. This recommendation came after several studies that proved that continuous sodium consumption above 2,300 mg can lead to cardiovascular complications.
Unfortunately, the adult US population is consuming way more than the recommended limit. According to figures established by the federal Department of Health, an adult US citizen on average consumes 3,400 mg of sodium in their daily dietary intake.
To be safe, focus on vegetables. Most vegetables are sodium-free or close to it. In addition, the same goes for fruits, but there are some that have some high sodium levels. For information on how to control your sodium intake, click here.
Dangers Involved with Eating Too Much Salt
Excessive use of salt entails many health risks. Let’s have a look.
An extensive research body has substantiated the dangers of excessive salt consumption for cardiovascular health. High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, which eventually affects every organ of the cardiovascular system. As a result, the affected person suffers from different cardiovascular conditions.
Deteriorated Brain Health
Hypertension also has an adverse effect on brain health. Scientists believe that the excessive use of sodium can also lead to strokes in the affected people. Some studies have also indicated that the excessive use of salt is detrimental to the cognitive activity of an aging brain. In other words, the neurological perils of excessive use of salt start showing up in old age.
Oedema is a condition in which swelling occurs on joints and limbs because of water retention in body cavities and tissues. It has been studied that high sodium diets lead to the development of this condition. Oedema caused by excessive salt intake usually affects knee joints, hands, and feet. Oedema depends on other medical conditions as well. Nevertheless, physicians recommend oedema patients cut down their salt use regardless of the underlying factors.
Kidney is a vital organ responsible for many vital physiological functions. It produces red blood cells and filters out toxins from the bloodstream. Increased sodium intake combined with hypertension also affects the filtration activity of kidneys. Excessive sodium in the bloodstream weakens the kidneys’ ability to get rid of toxins from the body.
Apart from these major health problems, excessive salt intake also increases the risk of stomach cancer. Moreover, it is responsible for occasional bloating.
Signs of Excessive Sodium Consumption
Salt is the primary source of sodium present in our bodies. There are multiple signs that indicate that you are consuming too much salt or sodium.
Feeling Thirsty All the Time
As mentioned earlier, sodium plays a crucial role in regulating body fluids. The excessive sodium in the body activates a homeostatic response that signals the brain to drink more water to balance the excessive level of sodium. This is the reason why we feel thirsty after eating salty foods. If you feel thirsty all the time, then it is a sign that an excessive amount of salt is part of your daily dietary intake.
When there is too much sodium in the bloodstream, water leaves the cells, causing it to swell. This is shown in the form of belly-bloating. If you encounter this problem frequently, then you may be eating too many salty foods.
Consuming too much salt on daily basis can cause vasodilatation within the brain, which often appears in the form of headaches. If you are feeling heavy-headedness for no particular reason, then excessive salt consumption might be responsible for this.
Another Dangerous Aspect of Excessive Sugar Consumption
Eating too much salt also affects the receptive characteristics of taste buds. They adapt to the excessive use of salt. In this condition, even salty foods are perceived as regular intake by the brain and thus push people to further increase the salt content of their meals. People only come to know about this harmful pattern when it starts affecting their health in any of the above-discussed ways.
Therefore, always remain vigilant regarding your salt consumption so that your taste buds can continue to detect the varying salt levels in foods.
Nearly all processed and junk foods are rich in salt. Relying on these foods to fulfill daily dietary requirements can considerably increase your sodium consumption. Make sure that you eat more home-cooked foods where you can maintain some control of salt consumption. Moreover, try to consciously lower the amount of salt you ingest. In the beginning, you might not like this change, but in a couple of weeks, your taste buds will get accustomed to it and your future self will thank you for it.
In general, if you feel like something is wrong with your health, contact your medical provider. Don’t put it in delay mode!