Salt is the sweetness of life. Have you ever heard of the saying that water is life? That’s the truth, but I would say without fear or favour, that salt is the sweetness of life, we all know that food gives us energy, helps in keeping our body and soul together, and without food, we may not function efficiently, or be able to carry out certain things, ultimately, our life depends so much on food, and we can’t survive for a long time without food.
A meal without salt in it is distasteful, no normal person would even want to go near it, not to talk of having a bite or taste, salt is so important that there is virtually any food you can eat, that salt would be absent in it. As important as salt may be, too much of it causes adverse health effects on humans, unfortunately, most of us takes in more than enough salt on a daily basis.
Most of the salts we take aren’t contained in the food we consume at home, it’s majorly contained in meals we take in eateries or restaurants, and in most packaged foods that we buy from malls or marts, experts have recommended that we shouldn’t consume more than 2400 mg of salt daily, when this expert view isn’t followed, the effects on the body system is not favourable, some would be discussed in this article.
- It results in kidney problem.
When a meal is rich in salt, it’s more delicious and good for the tongue buds, but at the same time, it is of adverse health effects to the kidney.
Excess consumption of salt results to high level of calcium in the urine, which ultimately increases the chances of kidney stone formation.
Also, excess consumption of salt reduces the ability of the kidney to perform its role of filtering liquid out of the blood, the excess sodium in the blood leads to an increase in blood pressure. This may also lead to kidney failure.
- It results in increased blood pressure.
As explained in the first point, excess salt consumption prevents the kidney from functioning properly, it leads to water retention, and the heart has to pump harder so as to keep the system running, which ultimately leads to unnecessarily stressing the heart organ. This can lead to other diseases such as stroke, heart disease, dementia, and other problems relating to the heart.
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- It leads to bloating
One thing we’ve continually hammered on about excess intake of salt is water retention, it’s a common notion that bloating occurs only in the stomach or abdomen, that’s far away from the truth, bloating can also occur in areas of the body above the abdomen.
It is known as edema, it’s a phenomenon in which swelling develops in the hands, legs, or feet. Regular consumption of excess salt can result into chronic bloating.
- Brain fog may develop.
Several factors may affect the functioning of the brain, one of which is the excessive consumption of salt, a study published in the Neurobiology of Aging in 2011 found out that older persons who have diets with high salt content and lived a sedentary lifestyle, had higher tendency to develop more cognitive decline as compared to those who didn’t.
Also, those who have an higher salt intake leads to decreased water intake, this ultimately leads to dehydration, which also hampers cognitive function and cause disturbances.
- It Can Lead to Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis in simple terms means porous bone. It is a bone disease that occurs when the ratio of the body’s bone loss is higher than it’s replacement. As a result, bones tends to be weak and may get easily broken.
Whenever you urinate, calcium is expelled from the body, the higher the salt intake into your body, the higher calcium that would be expelled from the body, consequently, high salt intake leads to higher depletion of calcium, and this ultimately leads to osteoporosis, which is caused by lack of calcium in the body.
From our discussions, it’s quite evident that the excessive consumption of salt results into several damages to the body system, from kidney problem to heart problem, from increased bloating to development of brain fog, the damage caused is limitless. To mitigate these challenges, we have to limit the intake of salt, this can be done by:
- Reduce or totally avoid processed food, for they contain too much salt and lacks essential nutrients.
- Eat more at home, and minimize salt usage, for meals from restaurants or eateries contain much salt, so as for them to get the desired taste. You can use salt free spices if possible.
- Increase your potassium consumption via eating foods that has high potassium percentage, these includes sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach. Potassium reduces blood pressure and counters the effects of excessive salt intake.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit the use of canned foods, for most of them contain added salts, if you must buy canned foods, make sure that it’s salt-free.