Eating Too Much Salt? Find Out With These 7 Warning Signs
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As much as we try, salt cannot be avoided. And it really shouldn’t be, because sodium is an important component of many health functions. The problem, however, is that most people consume excessive amounts of this white product, either from processed or prepared foods, paving the way for all kinds of health issues and conditions.
If you’re one of those people who eat salt on a regular basis and think you’re within normal range, keep an eye out for these 7 warning signs that might tell you it’s time to get rid of the shaker. Better to prevent than to treat!
A real shocker? Not really, considering that pretty much everyone’s experienced thirst after eating something salty, at some point.
The explanation is that the sodium in salt facilitates a balanced level of fluid in the body’s cells. When you eat excessively salty foods, your body requires more water to function properly and draws it from your cells, to balance the sodium-fluid ratio. As such, you begin to feel thirsty and dehydrated.
With table salt containing around 40% sodium and 60% chloride, just think twice next time you’re on a salt-sprinkling spree.
Ever had a meal out only to find yourself with a bloated belly the next day? That’s because regardless of the cuisine, most of the times, what we eat out includes debatable quantities of salt that we cannot control.
The excessive consumption of salt, whether voluntary or not, increases the sodium level in the bloodstream, causing extra fluid retention. Consequently, you start experiencing bloating and bellyache. Fortunately, the effects of this salty overindulgence are usually temporary, until the fluid and sodium levels are balanced out.
If puffy eyes or swollen wrists are common occurrences for you, then maybe it’s time you stopped reaching for the salt shaker every time you’re having a meal.
According to several studies, too much sodium can seriously affect the way you look and feel, causing puffiness and swelling in different parts of your body. This condition is also known as edema and it generally happens when excess fluid builds up in the body’s tissues.
High blood pressure
Apart from the puffiness or bloating, an overload of salt can also cause more serious and dangerous problems such as high blood pressure.
Because more water is retained in the body, the heart needs to amp up its work and pump harder, thus increasing blood pressure. And, in turn, high blood pressure can pave the way for other complications such as weakened arteries, heart or kidney failure.
As discussed earlier, one of the effects of high blood pressure caused by high salt intake is that it weakens your arteries, among which, the ones leading to your brain. This, in turn, increases the risks of cognitive decline.
For example, it may slow down your reaction time and affect your ability to focus on your tasks properly. Mix hypertension with constant dehydration due to high sodium, and you will end up feeling tired and with a foggy brain. Who knew salt could impact brain functions to such an extent?
If you’ve ever suffered from kidney stones, you most likely did not forget that experience. To prevent that from ever happening again or, better yet, at all, keep track of your sodium intake.
That’s because high amounts of sodium can significantly disturb your kidney function by affecting the kidney’s ability to eliminate the excess water through osmosis. In addition, too much salt can increase the concentration of calcium in your urine, forming crystals which eventually become kidney stones.
Apart from the more serious health issues, a high sodium intake can also alter your taste buds. If you feel like nothing is as tasty and delicious as it used to be, blame it on the overly high amounts of salt you cover your food with.
The more salt you eat, the more your taste buds become accustomed to it and crave for more salty foods. All the rest seem bland and tasteless and feel like missing something.