SALT: AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT
Table salt is actually called sodium chloride or NaCl. Sodium is a mineral element that is widespread in nature and in the human body. It is crucial to the normal functioning of the human organism, which must receive a modest amount each day through diet.
Salt is itself not harmful to health when it is consumed in reasonable amounts but too much salt intake can cause some serious health damage. The harmful effects of salt can be explained in large part by the fact that it retains water, which can be a problem in the presence of certain diseases such as:
- high blood pressure
- heart failure, and
- kidney diseases
Without salt there is no taste in food as salt enhances the flavor of foods, but eating too much of it can have harmful effects on health. Processed, prepackaged or ready-to-eat foods such as cold cuts, chips, crackers, soups, canned vegetables, cheese, and even breakfast cereal all contains a significant amount of salt which is not even healthy.
Major Side Effects Of Table Salt
- Blood pressure: lowering down blood pressure or raising up, both are not good. Blood pressure should be at normal reading. But certain factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise and, in particular, high intake of salty food can raise your blood pressure, which leads to heart attacks & strokes.
- Stroke: Strokes are of two types like ischemic strokes, when a blood vessel becomes blocked, and haemorrhagic strokes, when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke and table salt is the major factor that raises blood pressure.
- Coronary Heart Disease: Thickening of blood vessel walls, forming clots, making them too narrow and reducing blood pumping to the heart all can be caused by high intake of salt, which leading to heart failure.
- Stomach cancer: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium causes stomach inflammation manifesting into stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Taking too much salt in daily diet can damage the lining of the stomach, and aids the growth and action of the bacteria.
- Osteoporosis: The high intakes of salt in daily diet can cause calcium to be lost from bones and excreted out through urine, making bones weak, prone to breaking, and having high blood pressure just speeds up this process, worsening the problem.
- Obesity: Too much salt intake does make you thirsty, and you take a lot of sugary soft drinks, they can cause weight gain because of their excess energy and carbs. See TOP 10 FOODS HIGHEST IN SUGAR.
- Kidney Stones and Kidney Disease: Both a high table salt intake and high blood pressure can cause too much calcium to be excreted by the kidneys into the urine, leading to calcium buildup and therefore kidney stones which if left untreated may cause serious kidney disease.
- Asthma: Although table salt is not directly related to asthma, but it does aggravate the asthma symptoms.
- Ménière’s Disease: Ménière’s is a rare disease of ear which damages the ear and causes giddiness with nausea and vomiting, tinnitus and hearing loss. Too many intakes of salt, because of its fluid retention properties, increases the pressure in the inner ear which worsens the symptoms of Ménière’s.
- Diabetes: By taking too much salt leads to raising blood pressure and higher the risk of diabetes. By lowering down the amount of salt intake helps to reduce the risk of the long-term complications of diabetes.
- Mineral Depletion: Researchers reported that table salt deplete body minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium and leads to mineral deficiency if intake large amount and directly related to cardiovascular disease.
- Acid Formation: Due to its lack of buffering minerals, table salt becomes an acidifying substance within the body. This makes it difficult for the body to maintain its alkalinity.
- Addiction: It is considered that table salt has ability of disease promoting and addictive. Even all manufactured foods contains table salt more or less, but many people will add more salt from a salt shaker in their food.
A LOW-SODIUM DIET
If anyone opt to have low sodium diet in daily routine then they can easily lower down the risk of above-mentioned diseases like high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes or kidney disease. Everyone can take benefits from reducing their salt intake and follow a low-sodium diet for health reasons. If anyone is living with a chronic disease, like heart or kidney disease, it is recommended to talk to your health care provider about the advantages of a low-sodium diet.
The following precautionary measures can definitely help anyone to reduce the sodium intake.
- If you are using canned foods like chick peas, potatoes and lentils always rinsed it before eating them because they put preservatives which include a lot of salt.
- Always prefer to eat more at home and less or occasionally at restaurants or outside home.
- Avoid using processed or prepackaged food items always prefer fresh foods.
- Keep in mind the items while grocery with clearly marked words such as “sodium-free”, “reduced sodium”, “low-sodium” or “no salt added.”
- Avoid putting too much salt on your food, enhance your taste with other spices like lemon juice, pepper or other herbs.
By reducing the salt intake in daily life is one of the winning strategies for a healthier lifestyle. Talk to your health care provider for additional information about how to stay healthy through prevention and healthy habits.
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