Salt Effects On The Body & 7 Signs You Eat Too Much Salt

by Khadija MAWHOUB

Salt gives every dish that certain something, but it is anything but healthy. Although the body needs a certain amount of sodium, we mostly consume far too much. Adults should consume around 2.3 mg of salt a day. People with high blood pressure have to make do with only 1.5 mg.

But avoiding salt is not that easy. Because the salting of the pasta water or the salting during eating only make up a maximum of 20 percent of our consumption. Most of the salt -around 80 percent- is in processed foods such as bread, cheese, sausage, ready-made sauces and especially ready-made meals such as pizza. The problem is that it is difficult to measure and it is difficult to estimate how much salt we consume. And it is very tedious to get the salt content out of every single food.

Salt Effects On The Body

Too much salt in the body increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other diseases. In particular, paired with too little exercise, too much salt can have a negative impact on your health.

Continued consumption of too much salt can damage the body:

1. Blood Pressure

Excessive salt intake has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure -one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke-. Blood pressure tablets often work better when less salt is eaten. However, not all people with high blood pressure react equally to salt consumption. While giving up salt has a clearly measurable effect on blood pressure in some people, it hardly matters in others. The reason for this is not yet clear.

2. Obesity

As a flavor enhancer, salt stimulates appetite and can thereby promote the development of obesity. For example, chips and flips consist of a certain mixture of carbohydrates, fat, and salt, enriched with flavoring and coloring agents, sugar and spices. This mixture is also called “feeding formula” and it affects our feeling of satiety and activates the reward system in the brain.

3. Intestine and The Immune System

An excess of table salt also influences the composition of the intestinal Microbiome. Too much table salt significantly reduces the number of Lactobacilli in the intestine, while the number of so-called Th17 helper cells in the blood increases. These immune cells are suspected of increasing blood pressure and promoting inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The fact that the number of Th17 cells increases so massively indicates an increased inflammatory response in the body. The Microbiome, therefore, appears to be an important factor for diseases influenced by salt.

You might like to read: 10 Tips To Reduce Sugar Intake

7 Signs That You Eat Too Much Salt

But how do you notice that you are consuming too much salt? These signs tell you:

1. You Prefer Ready Meals

The excessive consumption of processed food and especially ready meals, such as ready-made sauces, are the first characteristic of the over-consumption of salt. Almost without exception, these products contain too much salt, so it is hardly avoidable to maintain the appropriate amount of salt. When buying, pay attention to whether and how much sodium is in the finished food. In addition to ready meals and the like, cans, bag soups or frozen foods often have a hidden salt additive.

2. You are Dehydrated

Less salt, more water!

The excessive consumption of salt affects the fluid in the body. Because: Salt removes liquid from the body. The result is that you become dehydrated and ultimately have far too little fluid in your body, which is of course more than important for a healthy body. One indication is that you wake up feeling very thirsty in the morning. Then you probably consumed too much sodium the night before. Processed meat, salty cheese, and olives, for example, can be to blame, which can quickly increase your sodium content. 

Warning: dehydration can also cause headaches or stomach pain.

3. You Have a Headache

There may be many causes of a stinging or roaring between the temples. In addition to stress, lack of water and overly salty food are often responsible for the pain.

Think about what you ate last. Because too much salt leads to vasodilation in the brain, which is noticeable through a  headache.

4. You Feel Bloated

Water retention in the body can indicate too much sodium in the body

If you feel bloated regularly, this can be a clear sign that your salt intake is too high. Excess salt gives us the feeling of being bloated because the salt affects the balance of the fluid in the body. Water retention can also result, which not only means that you automatically weigh more, it is also very unhealthy for your health.

5. Your Taste has Changed

If you almost always add salt, it could be a sign

Yes, the palate can also be influenced or even affected by high salt consumption. Very tasty food and well-seasoned dishes suddenly taste like nothing and you add salt. A dangerous cycle. But how do you find out that your taste has changed? It’s simple: go out to eat with friends and order the same dish as the others. If you are the only one who has plenty of salt, you know. But don’t worry! Simply avoid salt and salty foods for a few days (as best you can). The so-called salt diet quickly settles your taste.

6. You have High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a common consequence of too much sodium in the body

Especially people who have high blood pressure have to monitor their salt intake closely. On the other hand, a permanent excess of salt can make you a hypertension patient. If you are at risk, you should generally avoid ready meals and fast food and have yourself examined regularly.

7. You have Kidney Stones

Excessive salt consumption can also cause painful kidney stones

What exactly causes kidney stones? Some risk factors play a role. These include excessive sodium consumption, which affects your kidneys and ultimately the development of painful kidney stones. You can counter the likelihood of getting kidney stones by drinking plenty of water regularly and keeping your sodium intake under control.

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