Salt, scientifically called sodium chloride, is made up of about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It is used to flavor food and as a binder and stabilizer. It's also a food preservative since bacteria can't survive in a salty setting. A small amount of sodium is needed by the human body to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain proper water and mineral balance. For these critical functions, we need approximately 500 mg of sodium per day. However, consuming too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
The issue is that salt, like sugar, is extremely tasty. The flavor combination of salt, sugar, and fat is incredible. Most mammals have a strong urge to consume these unhealthy food combos. The amount of salt and sugar available today is well beyond what our bodies were meant to consume. However, eating too much salt has side effects.
Excess sodium raises blood pressure by retaining excess fluid in the body, putting additional strain on the heart. Increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease by consuming too much sodium. In addition, one out of every three individuals can have high blood pressure over their lifetime.
Recommended Amounts for the Salt: How much salt is dangerous?
The Adequate Intakes (AI) of sodium guidelines were developed based on the lowest levels of sodium intake found in randomized controlled trials that did not indicate a deficiency while still allowing for an adequate intake of sodium-rich foods.
The adequate intake is 5 grams per day for men and women 14 years and older, as well as pregnant women. In the UK, the daily recommended volume is no more than 6 grams, the current average salt consumption is 8 grams per day, but many people consume higher than recommended.
But what happens if you eat too much salt in one day, well here is a list of some of the effects of eating too much and symptoms.
Effects of Eating Too Much Salt
Plane flights, hormonal changes, and eating too much salt can all cause the body to retain water. The body is mostly made up of water. When our hydration levels are out of balance, our bodies tend to hold on to that water.
Water retention typically causes people to feel heavier than usual, as well as less nimble or active. Bloating, puffiness, and swelling are also possible side effects.
High Blood Pressure
A salt-rich meal will also cause the blood vessels and arteries to dilate, allowing more blood to flow into them. This can trigger a brief increase in blood pressure. However, these consequences might not be felt by all.
People who are salt-tolerant, for example, do not experience an increase in blood pressure after eating salty foods. Factors such as genetics and hormones are believed to affect a person's salt sensitivity.
The effects of high salt diets on blood pressure can be amplified by age and obesity. These factors could explain why not everyone's blood pressure rises when they eat a salt-rich diet.
A salty meal can also leave with a dry mouth or make one thirsty. Another way the body attempts to correct the sodium-to-water ratio is by encouraging drinking. The rate of urination will be more than normal as a result of the increased fluid intake.
Failure to drink enough water after consuming a lot of salt, on the other hand, will cause sodium levels to rise above a healthy level, resulting in a condition called hypernatremia.
Heart Disease or Premature Death
The correlation between high-salt diets, heart disease, and premature death is still up for debate. According to some research, excessive salt consumption raises blood pressure and causes blood vessels and arteries to stiffen.
As a result, these can increase the risk of heart disease and death. Participants who consumed less than 5.8 grams of salt per day, for example, had the lowest mortality rates, whereas those who consumed more than 15 grams of salt per day had the highest.
Others, on the other hand, believe that high-salt diets have little impact on heart health or survival, whereas low-salt diets can potentially increase the risk of heart disease and can be fatal.
Effects Bone Density
Salt plays an important role in regulating the amount of calcium lost from the bones and in the urine. Too much salt can cause bone weakening and therefore osteoporosis because calcium is necessary for bone strength.
High blood pressure caused by an excessive salt diet can also increase the rate at which calcium is removed from the bones, raising the risk of osteoporosis.
What should I do if I ate too much salt?
If you have consumed too much salt, you should consult your doctor. Or for some home quick remedies to flush salt out of your body overnight. Look for foods high in potassium, since this electrolyte will help in the removal of excess salt from your kidneys.
When in doubt, consider fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain a lot of potassium. Bananas, strawberries, green vegetables, melons, and citrus fruits are all high in potassium.
Limiting sodium is difficult because refined or packaged foods, with no salt added to the table, account for around 75% of sodium in most people's diets.
It can be surprising for a savvy nutrition label reader. Salt can be found in a variety of foods, including bread and cereals.
Since many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure, it is known as a silent killer. Reduce consumption of processed foods and keep track of daily salt intake.