The Health Effects of Excessive Salt Intake

Staying away from foods with excessive sodium content is critical for maintaining optimal health. Salt is the most popular seasoning but, at the same time, is dangerous as well. Monitoring your salt intake is a real challenge because it might seem like as if you’re making a compromise between taste and your health. Although a necessary nutrient, salt works best in a tiny amount as required by the body. With excessive salt intake, the effects can be harmful. Let’s look at how this happens.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE/HYPERTENSION:

Due to the fluid retention effect of salt, excessive salt intake may lead to high blood pressure, ultimately resulting is other serious heart problems like heart failure. As proved by the American Heart Association, cutting down your salt intake does help minimize the risk of high blood pressure.

CAN CAUSE KIDNEY STONES AND LATER KIDNEY FAILURE:

Sodium is a key indicator to let the kidneys know when to retain water and when to get rid of it. A large amount of sodium can, however, impede this sensitive process and affect the kidneys’ efficiency. This results in more water being retained in the body, leading to increased blood pressure (as explained above).

PREVENTS THE ABSORPTION OF OTHER NUTRIENTS, SUCH AS CALCIUM, AND CAN LEAD TO THE LOSS OF BONE DENSITY (OSTEOPOROSIS):

When nutrients like calcium are not absorbed, they are excreted in the urine and are suspected by many experts to thin the bones, leading to brittle and weak bones, especially in women.

STOMACH LINING IS THINNED AND CAN LEAD TO ULCERS:

One theory suggests salt adversely affects the mucous lining of the stomach, causing stomach tissue to become unhealthy and abnormal.

SKIN:

Excessive salt intake can lead to a condition called edema, which is basically characterized by swelling of body parts, particularly the arms, hands, feet, ankles and legs, and is caused by fluid retention.

BRAIN:

A Canadian study carried out in 2011 proved that high-sodium diets were linked to the risk of increased emotional failure.

To ensure you have a safe level of salt in your body, replenish it with lots of water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, use a minimal amount of salt in your meals, and, better still, substitute salt with healthy alternatives, like sea salt and other seasonings. Avoid restaurant foods and, before buying food products from the supermarket, make sure to read the labels and know the telltale sign of foods with sodium in excess (flavorful foods) to aid your decision of which foods to let go.

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