Salt is something that contains sodium and sodium is something that is considered bad for health.. kind of like saturated fat. Much like cell phones and eggs, studies say salt is bad for you one day, but okay the next day. The reason being the sodium content as it is believed to increase blood pressure and the risk of heart stroke which is most common sources of deaths in middle and high- income countries. Salt is a chemical compound having 40 per cent sodium and 60 percent chloride. Yes, the body do need salt for the proper functioning. Salt is something we can say; Can’t do without it and definitely can’t do with too much of it. Also, studies have recommended that the upper limit of salt for adults is between 3.75 – 5 gm which actually measures upto just 1 teaspoon of salt every day. This is regarded as an ideal amount of salt by renowned health organisations for all healthy adults without diabetes or blood pressure or cardio-vascular diseases. But today consumption is more than that, and the reason being, most of it is coming from processed foods. If we have to strictly follow this intake, then serious and drastic changes are needed in lifestyle.
However, the insight of all this stuff is if sodium is that bad? And more importantly, if there are benefits to sodium restriction, are they important enough to be worth the obvious reduction in pleasure, we derive from our (to be saltless, tasteless) foods? Let’s have a look on why we need it and what it serves to our bodies.
Salt, contains sodium, which is a vital electrolyte in our body. It controls the fluid balance in our body and the working of our muscles and nerves. The sodium content is automatically regulated by our body, in a way like you have experienced you feel more thirsty after a Chinese meal because the sauces contain high salt content. So, if levels are too high, you will feel thirsty more often and drink more water as consumption of more water helps in eliminating the salt through our kidneys. Sodium is bad because if blood pressure is elevated, the heart has to work harder to push the blood throughout the body and this leads to increased strain on other arteries and other organs. And it is well known that high blood pressure is major risk factor for many serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Yes, this do gives us reason to cut back our salt intake, but it is a small to avoid overconsumption as already 75 percent of the salt we eat is present in everyday food item, like bread, breakfast, ketchups, pickles or canned foods. To balance your salt consumption, its good to avoid cheese, pickles, papads, salted nuts, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces, breads, ready-to-made pastas, noodles, soups, wafers, chips and anything you feel like high salt content food in your daily life. The salt intake can also be balanced by these ways;
Increase your water intake: the best way to flush out all the unnecessary toxins and excess sodium and maintain correct pH balance is to drink as much water. Avoid these aerated drinks, sodas, energy drinks as they can easily sabotage your efforts to maintain normal blood pressure. Also, if you are exercising and doing rigorous workout in very hot weather, you may lose fluids and electrolytes through sweat, in such a case, drink plenty of water during your workout regimen and increase your salt, sodium intake to compensate for heavy perspiration. As this will help in preventing the drop in your blood pressure.
Rinse canned foods: The canned foods which needs to be stored for long time are generally packed in salt solution. Like, vegetables and meats that are packed in brine always increase the salt content in body. It better to rinse them in good manner to wash off the salt.
Focus on potassium: Potassium is given importance because increase in the level of potassium lower the sodium levels, thus balancing blood pressure positively. One should eat potassium-rich fruits which are plum, peach, watermelon, muskmelon, avocados, orange, prunes, spinach, raisins and apricots to name a few.
Replace salt with herbs: Its better that instead of reaching out to salt shaker to add that extra flavor, prefer to season your food with citrus juices, herbs and spices or organic stuff, available naturally. This will not only compensate your salt worries but also add value to your food stuff.
Now, if you want to know why too much salt is bad for you, it is here as if binge on foods that are too salty, you will feel bloated and puffy after some hours, which is because eating too much salt causes your body to retain water and as a result blood volume is increased. This becomes the root of all the health problems that you know too much salt can cause as it leads to further excess pressure on blood vessels, thus demanding lot of hard work from heart in order to ensure smooth blood flow. It becomes main cause of high blood pressure and heart diseases. Other metabolic disorders associated with excess sodium and salt include osteoporosis, kidney stone, asthma. So, they key is to balance the salt intake as per your body requirements and take some precautions and necessary avoidances to maintain the proper balance of sodium in your body.
Healthy Eating. Happy Life.