Salt does more than just make your food tastier; This substance is essential for the proper functioning of your body. Sodium, one of the key ingredients in table salt, helps regulate blood flow and pressure (blood pressure) as well as transmit messages between nerves and muscle fibers. Chloride, another chemical in table salt, helps digestion. In order to stay healthy, there should be enough salt in the food you consume and these foods should be renewed.
But too much salt can be harmful. Processed foods are full of salt; Restaurants add more salt to their dishes to make them taste better. As a result, the number of people consuming high sodium is increasing (sometimes unwittingly), and this has a number of major effects on people’s health.
When you consume too much sodium, your body retains more water. The reason for this is that the kidneys, which filter waste in the blood, maintain a special electrolyte ratio such as sodium / potassium against water.
The more salt you eat, the more water the kidneys hold in the system. This condition can have many undesirable effects such as edema (swelling in places such as hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs). Generally, more fluid means more blood flowing through veins and arteries. This situation can lead to hardening of the veins over time and thus high blood pressure.
You probably know that salt can keep you thirsty; The body is thus trying to fix that sodium / water ratio. Drinking plenty of water can aggravate edema and blood pressure problems. But not drinking enough can force the body to draw water from other cells and cause you to become dehydrated.
People who consume high-sodium foods usually urinate more because of this extra water. Your body loses calcium every time you urinate. This mineral, besides its many properties, also strengthens bones and teeth. If you urinate too often, your body loses too much calcium, which can weaken bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Apart from these, there are also some effects that no one understands much. Some studies have found that excess salt can cause stomach ulcers, infections, and even accelerate stomach cancer. No one knows exactly why, but some researchers suspect sodium may be breaking down the mucus wall in the stomach, according to Live Strong.
Salt can also negatively affect cognitive function, according to a 2010 study. The mentioned study was purely an observational study; so researchers cannot say why such a thing could happen.
In other studies, it was found that most of the sodium consumed did not come from salt shakers, but from processed foods and meals eaten outside.
The evidence is clear: too much salt can have serious and long-term health consequences. But most people’s diets far exceed the recommended daily value of their sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams. The USA’s New York City Council made a rule in 2015 to better inform the public about it. According to this rule, restaurants should mark meals that exceed the daily recommended amount of sodium on the menu.
Maybe New Yorkers may be more aware of the salt they consume, adjust their food accordingly and, as a result, be healthier. For everyone else: It doesn’t hurt to pay more attention to your salt intake.