Salt is an essential ingredient in all the dishes, especially snacks and the main course. It is said that salt enhances the flavor and complements all other spices and herbs added to the food. In some recipes like fruit mix, salt is used for garnishing. Salt is also used as a preservative and added to pickles and other preserved food items.
It is often accepted that salt is an inevitable part of our diet. But are you aware of the risks of eating too much salt? While there are numerous ways through which the body indicates that you are eating too much salt these days, you must be aware of the possible consequences.
Undoubtedly, salt is beneficial for the body as Sodium is essential for optimal muscle and nerve function, and chloride helps your body to maintain proper water and mineral balance. But, ingesting too much salt can pose certain risks to your body. There are some short-term and some long-term risks of eating too much salt. Let’s have a look:
With excessive consumption of salt, you may notice that you are feeling more bloated or puffy than usual. Why does this happen? Your kidneys are habitual in maintaining a specific sodium-to-water ratio in your body. For the extra sodium that you intake, the kidney holds on to extra water to compensate for it. This act of the kidney can increase water retention in the body leading to swelling, especially in the hands and feet, and can cause you to weigh more than usual.
Rising blood pressure
If you are eating too much salt, it can cause a larger blood volume to flow through your blood vessels and arteries, which may result in a temporary rise in blood pressure inside the body. Factors like obesity and aging can also amplify this risk.
Consuming excess salt can also lead to a dry mouth or frequent thirst. It is another way that the body chooses to correct the sodium-to-water ratio. The body feels dehydrated after consuming too much sodium. This frequent thirst can also result in frequent urination. If you fail to consume enough fluids or water during such times, it may cause your body’s sodium levels to rise above a safe level, resulting in a condition known as hypernatremia. This condition can cause many serious problems in the body. Its symptoms include restlessness, breathing and sleeping difficulties, and decreased urination.
These are some signs and risks of eating too much salt. Apart from these, there are some other risks of eating too much salt. It can increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke, along with stomach cancer. These problems are very serious, if they arise, they are very difficult to tackle. It is also said that consuming too much salt can reduce the life expectancy of a person. Hence, it may result in premature death. If you are used to eating too much salt in your diet, you can compensate by drinking extra water while you work on controlling your salt intake.
Also, it depends a lot on the type of salt that you consume. It is obvious that natural salts are more beneficial than artificial ones that have added minerals. Although all salts contain sodium and chloride, their amount and effect may vary with sources. Some other factors that may affect the effects of salt on the body are its iron and potassium content. That is why some people prefer iodized salt while others opt for rock salt, as they have different effects and nutritional content. Hence, it is not good to take excess salt.