Spices, flavours, aromas of well presented dishes arouse our tastebuds… some have a sweet tooth while others are hooked to salty diets. But did you know, that excessive salt intake can pose danger to your health? Not just high blood pressure, salt also elevates risk of cardiovascular disease, and fluid retention amongst other conditions.
With India fast becoming the world's diabetes capital, people try to control their glucose level by eating salty food, but in a bid to control the glucose they damage their health with excessive consumption of sodium.
People suffering from diabetes are advised to cut down on sweets of all kinds, as a result they get into the habit of eating more salty snacks without realizing that it leads to a rise in blood pressure. Salt is an integral part of our life as it makes the food tastier and more delicious. For many of us, it may not be possible to avoid salt. However, high salt intake is very risky for our body,” said Dr. Satish Koul, Consultant Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.
According to the World Health Organization, the recommended level of salt consumption is up to 5 g (about one teaspoon) per day at the population level, yet dietary salt intake in most Western countries is close to 10g per day (and much higher in many Eastern European countries).
It is important to understand that when we take salt in our diet, we actually intake sodium chloride. Sodium is required by the body to regulate the amount of water in body and for the proper working of muscles.
However when sodium levels increase in the body, it retains more fluid and it may increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke. The popularly known health risk that salt intake poses is High Blood Pressure; reducing the intake of salt lowers blood pressure considerably.
The main sources of sodium are processed and frozen food, as well as food from restaurants.
The link between high salt intake and high blood pressure is well established, and it has been suggested that a population-wide reduction in dietary salt intake has the potential to substantially reduce the levels of cardiovascular disease. Excess sodium increases kidney work load and causes further fluid retention in the body and may lead to swelling or edema.
Too much salt raises blood pressure, which in turn increases the work load of the heart. If your heart works at an elevated rate for a long time, then you may be affected with some cardiovascular diseases.
“Excessive consumption of salt also raises our bile secretion level, raises density of blood and decreases our vitality. Increase of Bile leads to many skin problems. It causes dryness of facial skin, dries up lips, sometimes leading to sore lips and further bleeding. Hence, people suffering from skin diseases are always advised to take less salt,” adds Dr. Satish Koul.
Some researches and studies have also shown that excessive salt intake leads to damage to the bone mass.
Other harmful effects of excessive salt are, it reduces iron in the blood, it creates acidity in the stomach, it causes false hunger and also it causes dryness, as well as, increases water retention in the body.
Tips to reduce salt intake:
- Do not add salt to curd.
- It is not necessary to add salt in cooked rice. It is a good habit to eat it without salt.
- Consume as little as possible or even avoid salty snacks. The real problem is that salty snacks are often tasty and as such we tend to over consume them.
- Reduce consumption of fried foods.
- Make a habit to eat salad without salt.
- Carefully read the labels when you go for your favorite processed food items.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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