Salt has been considered essential to human life for decades now, and is one of the world’s naturally occurring minerals. Mainly present in seawater, people have used salt in their diets for a long time now, and it is one of the basic human tastes. However, modern lifestyles and diets have raised concerns that salt (just like everything else!) in excess, can be bad for you. Let’s take a look at why.
Eat excessively of it, we’ve been told by doctors, health agencies, and self-styled gurus, and we’re courting disasters like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Some people even say overconsumption of salt can make us fatter.
You’ve cut back on salting from your meals, and logically so. Even if you’re dubious, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
Why is too much salt bad for you?
When consumed beyond the daily recommended limit, salt can increase blood pressure, and is associated with hypertension, one of the leading lifestyle ills today. It can eventually lead to stroke and other cardiovascular ailments like heart failure. Besides this, too much salt can also put you at risk for osteoporosis, kidney-related ailments and cancers associated with the digestive tract. A low sodium diet can help keep all these complications at bay.
How much salt should you be consuming?
The daily salt intake for most adults should not exceed 2-2.5g. In fact, the ideal salt intake should be 1.5g per person per day, especially if you are prone to hypertension, heart disease, or are over the age of 50. It isn’t just the salt you add in your daily cooking that needs to be considered. Packaged foods like breads, cereals and so on also contain sodium, which need to be factored into your daily diet.
Salt’s effects on the body
In order to understand how harmful salt is to your health, we need to look at the way it affects your body.
Does salt have any benefits?
Yes, salt is not all bad. You need to include a small amount of preferably natural salt in your diet, since it balances electrolyte levels, helps you stay hydrated and balances out the potassium levels in the body. Also, the body cannot produce sodium itself, so you will need to take salts in some natural form, to ensure sodium levels are maintained. It also helps the nervous system, and improves the quality of sleep. Salt can aid digestion by helping break down food as well.