It’s nothing short of amazing how a few pinches of salt can make all the difference between bland and delicious. How much salt is healthy anyway? You’re most likely not bothered if you’ve not been diagnosed with hypertension. It’s only normal. However, a new consciousness of this detail may just be the right thing especially considering the fact that most people might be taking more salt than the healthy daily requirement.
Whenever we hear the word ‘salt’, the common table salt always comes to mind first. Most times, it’s the only thing that actually does. Salt is made of sodium and chloride. We’re mostly bothered about the intake of sodium. Our daily sodium intake is actually more than the pinches of table salt. Processed foods such as bread, fast food, and natural sources such as vegetables and dairy products, meat contain sodium too. Our food additives and condiments almost always contain some amount. The kidneys help to maintain the balance of sodium by excreting or retaining when necessary.
We really do need sodium. Sodium is essential for maintaining fluid balance in the body. Transmission of nerve impulses and relaxation or contraction of muscles depends on having enough sodium. Daily, we really don’t need more than 2300mg of sodium. However, our daily intake of table salt alone accounts for more, and that is without calculating the many extras from other sources. What problems can arise from the excess intake?
Sodium attracts and holds water. Hence, more sodium, more water. Excessive sodium can lead to an increase in blood volume. An increased volume increases the pressure on the heart and vessels, causing hypertension. Hypertension can easily result in problems for the heart, brain, and kidneys among others. The older one grows, the greater the risk. This is the major reason salt intake should be monitored.
Now, how do we go about it? Most of us think we can’t get rid of our taste for salt. Well, the salt taste is acquired not innate. Adjustment over time is very feasible. First, table salt added to food has to reduce gradually. You can easily start with half the usual amount if you’re okay with it. Fewer food additives and condiments and more natural spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric also. Check out processed foods well. Go for the ones with less sodium. The labeling always gives a hint of how much is available.
Endeavor to see a doctor if you have any issues regarding your sodium intake.