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Many people consider salt a white poison, like sugar, and believe that complete rejection of this substance is a simple solution to all health problems. Sometimes, the amount of salt in the diet is often ignored, unlike the number of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and calories. The answer is simple – a healthy diet always implies moderate consumption of any foods including salt. Let’s figure out the danger of excess salt consumption and how its lack can affect our health.
What is edible salt?
Edible salt (sodium chloride) consists of 40% sodium (which is essential for our health) and 60% chlorine. Most of the sodium we get is in the form of salt, and mainly from the following foods:
- Canned food
- Fast food
According to the World Health Organization, it’s recommended to consume no more than five grams of salt per day which is about a teaspoon. On average, people eat different amounts of salt per day: from 0.5 grams to 25 grams.
Eating to much salt is bad for your health
Clinical studies have shown that there is a direct link between high salt intake and high blood pressure. Simply put, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. The best scientific evidence says that reducing the amount of sodium in the diet is especially important for people of middle and older age and for all patients with arterial hypertension.
The sensitivity to salt in people is different. In some people, a large amount of sodium can significantly increase blood pressure while others can be resistant to such an effect. However, it’s difficult to correctly measure blood pressure, due to a large number of factors affecting it. Age, ethnicity, gender, weight, and certain conditions, such as diabetes mellitus or kidney disease can affect sodium sensitivity.
Eating less salt is a good prevention of myocardial infarction and stroke associated with high blood pressure. Excess salt increases the risk of stomach cancer and affects calcium absorption which may result in osteoporosis. Therefore, people who have stomach and bone problems should consult a gastroenterologist to determine the safe daily salt intake.
Eating too little salt is also bad
Sodium is essential for the body since it plays a key role in maintaining the water-salt balance and transmission of nerve impulses. However, hyponatremia, that is, a decrease in the concentration of sodium ions in the blood, can occur due to serious diseases like liver cirrhosis or heart failure as well as improper diet. Sodium lack can lead to heart and kidney problems. The most dangerous complication of hyponatremia is cerebral edema. Hyponatremia can also occur in people who exercise excessively.
Why do we like salt so much?
Salt is a mineral that can make many dishes very tasty. Before refrigerators appeared, canning with salt helped preserve food which made salt a very expensive thing. However, today, when salt is cheap, and we can buy it everywhere, and people suffer from excess salt intake.
Sea and table salt vary in texture, taste, and processing. Sea salt is obtained by evaporation from seawater, and table salt is extracted in salt deposits located in ancient reservoirs that turned into salt lakes. Both types of salt are similar in composition and completely equivalent in terms of sodium content. You can give preference to a particular brand of salt because of its taste and texture, but don’t consider expensive salt with impurities of other minerals more useful than ordinary salt. Traces of potassium, iron, magnesium contained in salt won’t bring benefits to your health, it’s better to get them from foods.