Why Is Too Much Salt Bad for You
Salt helps your body to hold water, this is a good thing. However if you body begins to hold too much water (on account of too much salt) it increases your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high you put additional strain on many other parts of your body. Some side effects of too much salt/high blood pressure are heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.
Why You Need a Certain Amount of Salt
Although salt, in excess can be bad for you your body also needs about 200 mg of sodium a day to be healthy. Salt is necessary to manage your bodies hydration. It acts as an electrolyte, maintains fluid balance, nerve impulses, and proper acid-base balance . If you don’t get enough salt your body can go into what is called Hyponatremia. A rapid decrease in sodium levels can be signaled by headache, nausea, restlessness, fatigue, confusion and a decreased level of consciousness. However, a more gradual loss of sodium may not have any signs but can be just as dangerous. Without being treated, depending on the severity, a person could go into a coma or even die.
Signs That you Have Eaten Too Much Salt
Having too much sodium in your system is known as hypernatremia. This, like anything else can come in varying degrees of severity. The main system for this is thirst, severe thirst in most cases. Unhealthy change in salt levels can also be signaled by confusion, swelling, and blood pressure changes.
Ways to Cut Down on Salt Intake
- By no or low sodium food products. Many processed meats, breads, and cheeses are high in sodium as sodium is used to preserve and deter pathogens in the processing. So, if you buy these types of foods you will want to go with a low sodium option. There are other foods that you can of course avoid salt altogether.
- Don’t cook with it or put it on your foods. Try other salt free seasonings.
- Be sure to check the labels. Many products like seasoning packets and seasoning mixes are loaded with salts. Also check the labels on foods you tend to eat a lot. How much salt is in each serving?
- Cut out as many processed foods as possible. The more the food is processed and preserved the more salt is used.