Last updated date: 11-Mar-2024

Originally Written in English

Dangers of salt in our diet. The effects of excessive salt in various diseases

  • CloudHospital

  • Dangers of Salt

  • Diet

  • General Health

Salt or sodium chloride is necessity in everyday life for the body to function properly. The human body requires a small amount of sodium to operate nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals. However, excessive intake of salt in our diet increases blood pressure due to the holding of excess fluid in the body, which creates a high-pressure burden on the heart. Too much sodium consumption in your diet will increase the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney stones, among other ailments. According to the American Heart Association, nine out of ten Americans consume copious amounts of salt which leads to numerous illnesses and diseases. While the daily recommended intake of salt is just 1,500 milligrams, the average American consumes more than twice the amount, which currently is about 3,400 milligrams per person per day. This excess of salt intake causes many problems in society. Puffiness, weight gain and bloating are physical signs that you might be consuming too much salt. The economic cost and life quality decrease is a huge issue that needs to be solved.

Here are some of the common signs that you might be consuming too much salt in your diet:

Frequent urination

Frequent urination is a classic sign that you are consuming too much salt. Most of the time, you may feel an urgent need to wake up in the middle of the night to urinate. However, it is a symptom of many other conditions like UTIs, type 2 diabetes and an overactive bladder. Take a test be sure of what exactly the root cause is. Nevertheless, consuming too much salt could be a reason for it.

Constant thirst.

Consuming too much salt can leave you feeling thirsty most of the time. This happens because foods with high sodium content disrupt your body's fluid balance. The best way to make up for this is to drink lots of water. Your body is giving you a signal that it needs more water to restore the salt balance in your body.

Frequent mild headaches.

If you experience mild headaches every now and then, chances are that these headaches are dehydration induced. Consuming too much salt is likely to give you headaches in short intervals due to dehydration. Drink plenty of water to prevent these headaches.

Swelling in strange places.

Consuming too much salt can swell different parts of the body. This could be a reason why you feel bloated in the morning. The swelling can be felt on the fingers and around the ankles. This swelling is caused by excessive fluids in the body's tissues and is known as edema. Edema is believed to be a symptom of an underlying health condition or a sign of the fact that you are consuming too much salt.

Food tastes bland and boring.

Do you feel the need to add more salt to your food often? Do you find food bland and boring? Well, that is probably because you are used to consuming too much salt. Over time, your taste buds adjust to salty flavor and that is where your need to add more salt to food comes from.

Reducing salt intake is the key to solving these issues affecting your body in a harmful way. Getting used to less salty food may be a gradual process one must do over a long period of time so as to not encourage binging along the way. In addition to reducing the sodium intake, eating foods rich in potassium such as bananas and lemon juice can help reduce sodium in the body. Potassium electrolytes helps counteract sodium. Foods like bananas, white beans, leafy greens, lemon juice, and potatoes are all great sources of potassium.

Also, when shopping for processed foods, compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium per serving you can find. Often different brands of the same food can have different sodium levels per serving. When available, choose for foods labeled “no salt added”. When consuming processed foods, one must be very careful to read the label to exclude those that have excessive amounts of salt added.

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