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Importance of lowering your salt intake

Importance of lowering your salt intake
Most foods are packed with salt. In fact, we are eating more sodium (tablesalt is chemically sodium chloride) than we realize. An average  adult consumes about 3,400 mg of salt a day. However, the recommended daily intake is less than a teaspoon of salt, which is 2,300 mg a day. The question is, why should we lower our salt intake? Will it benefit the body in any way? Here is all you need to know about the impact of sodium on overall health.

Impact of Salt on Health

Our system needs a small amount of salt to function properly. When we eat too much, it leaves a drastic impact on our bodies and disrupt the natural balance (homeostasis).  That is because the body will always strive to maintain homeostasis, and when imbalances occur, the body will try to compensate:  this provokes a cascade of events (hormone releases) eventually leading to damage. High sodium intake can increase the chance of high blood pressure. While high blood pressure is often the result of kidney failure, cardiovascular complications, and heart disease. Scientists estimate that when there is too much salt in the system, our brain experiences intense stimulation that makes us feel thirsty. As a result, we need to drink more to get rid of the salt through urine.

Hidden Salt Sources

Over 70% of salt comes from packaged and pre-prepared goods. Foods like burgers, pizzas, bread (an often ignored important source), cheese, savory snacks, soups, tacos, etc., are packed with salt. Not only does it make them taste good, but it also gives them texture. That’s why a lot of companies rely on sodium in their meals.

Why Lower Sodium?

According to American Heart Association: the more you control your salt intake, the easier it will be to manage  blood pressure, . Based on reports, if people would reduce their salt consumption to 1,500 mg salt a day, they can decrease their overall blood pressure levels by 25.6%. This could greatly help reduce their risks of heart issues in the long-run.

Tips to Lower Salt Intake

Anyone can manage their salt intake. All it takes is a little bit of precaution. Here are a couple of tips that can come in handy.
  • Focus on fresh or frozen veggies or meats – Fresh products are an excellent choice. Even though they may not be to your taste, you can season them later by using herbs and (saltless) spices and in this way readjust the flavor.
  • Look for “low sodium” labels – Some foods contain more salt than others. Those labeled “no salt” or “reduced salt” are often the ideal choice.
  • An option – if you do not have kidney problems – is to use potassium salt (potassium chloride- such as LoSalt. However, always discuss this with your doctor in case you have kidney issues.
  • Be selective – If you need to buy packaged meals, make sure you are getting  products with less than 600mg of salt. This way you opt for a healthier alternative while still getting sufficient flavour.

Conclusion

Salt is a key nutrient and our body needs salt. But, whenever we eat too much, we expose our system to blood pressure issues and heart problems. Use the tips listed here to find the ideal tactics to manage your sodium intake.  

References

https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-body-regulates-salt-levels https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/sodium-and-salt https://health.clevelandclinic.org/know-salt-hiding-food/ https://www.cdc.gov/salt/reduce_sodium_tips.htm    
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