How much salt does it take to harm your health?
"Wouldn't this soup be tastier with a little more salt? Let me add a pinch of salt to it! Aha! Here's the perfect healthy, tasty soup!"
Have you been doing this to all your foods? Getting into a habit of adding that extra pinch of salt to every food item that you consume with the intention of making it extra tasty and yummy?
Keeping the taste aside, have you ever wondered where that extra salt goes and what can it do to your body. Is it healthy or harmful for you? How much salt does it take to harm your health?
Here are some facts about salt and its effect on your body:
Role of salt in your body:
Salt, comprised of sodium and chloride, plays an important role in maintaining human health. It is the main source of two elements sodium (essential for nerve and muscle functioning, and regulating the fluid balance in the body) and chlorine (essential to maintaining normal PH in the body).
How much salt should you take daily?
The intake of salt is calculated depending on the daily requirement of sodium. Various health bodies like the WHO and American Health Association recommend about 1.5-2 gm of sodium per day which comes to about 4-5 gm of salt.
There is some dispute regarding the exact quantity of salt that can be consumed, as some health bodies are of the view that in absence of health problems like hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, one can consume about 7 gm of salt per day.
What happens if you consume too much salt?
Excess consumption of salt leads to it getting accumulated in the body, thereby leading to water retention. The fluid level or water level, in turn, increases your blood pressure.
The higher the blood pressure, the greater is the risk on the heart, kidneys, brain, and arteries leading diseases to cardiac arrests, renal disease, stroke or dementia.
How do you know your salt consumption is HIGH?
Excessive salt consumption can lead to the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Swelling in different parts of body arising out of water retention
- Excessive salt craving
- Mild headaches on and off due to the fluid imbalance in the body
- Finding normal salted food boring and bland
Salt and Hypertension:
Salt intake plays an important role in maintaining the fluid balance in the body.
When there is excess salt, the body holds back extra water in order to flush it out leading to put pressure on the heart, blood vessels and increase in the blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
Therefore, a hypertension patient is advised to lower salt intake, while a normal person is advised to keep in within limits so as to minimize the risk of developing it.
Management of Hypertension:
The first step to managing hypertension or high blood pressure is reducing the salt intake on a daily basis.
There are a variety of antihypertensive medications that help maintain the blood pressure levels, though it comes with a price to pay. Long-term use of these anti-hypertensive medicines can lead to renal toxicity along with severe gastrointestinal complaints.
A better healthier alternative to controlling hypertension is the use of homeopathic medications. A combination of the right homeopathic medication along with proper diet and exercise regime help effectively keep blood pressure levels well under control.
While the ill effects of excessive salt can definitely be treated, why not nip it in the bud by taking in just the right amount of salt?
Why not choose health over taste?
After all, as the saying goes, "Better Safe than Sorry!!"