The habit of eating a lot of Salt should be eliminated immediately because it can be harmful to health, especially problems with blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, stomach cancer, etc. Limiting the use of Salty foods, maintaining a scientific diet is a measure to help maintain health that everyone should do right away.
Salt is an essential mineral, which not only helps preserve food, makes food taste better, but also plays an important role in many biochemical processes of the body. It is said that Salt is one of the causes of health effects, but we cannot live without Salt.
The composition of Salt contains about 60% chloride and 40% sodium. Almost all unprocessed foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, whole grains and dairy foods – contain some amount of sodium. It helps relax muscles, support nerve impulses, balance minerals and water that we absorb into the body.
1. How Much Salt do You Need a Day?
Our bodies only need a small amount of sodium. According to the National Institutes of Nutrition, currently, in the US, research shows that the average amount of sodium in the adult diet is 3.7g per day or equivalent to 9.4g per day of Salt, twice the recommended intake of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2g sodium per day or 5g Salt per day.
The following are the dangerous health consequences of eating too much Salty food. Consuming too much Salt can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure, kidney failure…. But how do you know if you have too much Salt in your body?.
2. 10 Unexpected Harms of Eating too Much Salt
2.1. High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease
A high-Salt diet increases the risk of high blood pressure. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, accounting for two-thirds of strokes and half of heart disease.
The Salt concentration of the body fluids is stable. Therefore, when eating a lot of Salt increases the osmotic pressure in the blood, the body will need more water to maintain a stable body fluid concentration. Responding to this request, the feeling of thirst will appear, causing the Salty person to drink a lot of water, which means an increase in blood volume and increased pressure on the vessel wall. This phenomenon will lead to an increase in blood pressure.
The kidneys are responsible for removing excess sodium from the blood. If too much Salt is ingested, the accumulation over time will exceed the kidneys’ ability to remove it. Sodium accumulates, leading to water retention in the blood to dilute sodium.
This increases the volume of blood in the blood vessels. Increased blood volume means the heart has to work harder. Over time, the blood pressure on the walls of the arteries increases, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. This condition leads to heart failure.
For people who already have high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney failure and liver failure, eating a lot of Salt will make the disease progress faster.
Diets high in Salt in children also have an effect on blood pressure and other diseases. Hypertension in children also has consequences of hypertension in adulthood, increasing the risk of complications due to early disease and prolonged disease duration.
2.2. Dehydration and Edema
The feeling of thirst is a direct response to eating Salty foods. This happens because too much sodium in the blood dehydrates the cells in the body. Cells lose water, sending signals to the brain that the body is thirsty. Water escaping from cells causes edema of organ tissues, especially in the lower body. Reducing salt intake is an effective way to prevent leg swelling.
2.3. Risk of Stomach Diseases
People who eat too much Salt will have a higher risk of stomach diseases than people who eat normally.
Eating too much Salt increases the risk of stomach ulcers, increases the risk of stomach cancer by destroying the protective membrane of the stomach lining and increasing the growth of Helicobacter pylori (HP).
For people who have ever had peptic ulcers, high salt content will increase the toxicity of HP bacteria and cause gastric and duodenal ulcers. This risk is higher if you have a habit of eating Salty and sour foods. For people with inflammatory diseases, stomach ulcers, in the daily menu should use less Salt.
The World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research Institute concluded that Salt and salted foods are a possible cause of stomach cancer.
2.4. Eating Salty Causes Kidney Stones
Eating too much Salt increases your risk of developing kidney stones, according to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kidney stones are formed when substances in the urine (such as calcium) become concentrated and form crystals. Those crystals that begin to grow larger and pass through the urinary tract can become trapped, and eventually interfere with urine movement.
2.5. Digestive Diseases
Sodium regulates the acid-base balance of blood and body fluids. Too much Salt can cause acid reflux, burn your heart, and long-term damage to your digestive system. Studies show that eating Salty foods is a high risk factor for peptic ulcers and cancer.
2.6. Eating Salty Causes Stomach Bloating
A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that bloating (characterized by a buildup of gas and discomfort in the stomach) is more common in people who eat a Salty diet. If you find yourself experiencing uncomfortable bloating, drink more water and eat foods that help reduce bloating.
2.7. Eating Salty Causes Weak Bones
According to the National Bone Health Foundation, a Salty diet can put you at risk for weak bones and lead to osteoporosis. Sodium inhibits the body’s absorption and use of calcium, leading to a loss of bone mass.
The kidneys are responsible for removing the chloride in Salt (sodium chloride). Sodium chloride increases the excretion of calcium (taken from the bones) in the urine.
Postmenopausal women, diabetics and the elderly already at high risk of osteoporosis should be especially careful about Salt intake. A diet high in Salt can significantly raise the risk of fractures and other bone deformities.
2.8. Affects the Nervous System
Too much sodium can severely interfere with nerve impulse transmission and cause symptoms such as dizziness, muscle cramps and tremors. This can impair sensory responses, feel disoriented, or develop other depressive symptoms.
Cognitive function can be negatively impacted when you eat Salty foods. A study published in the journal Nature reported that dietary sodium intake may increase the risk of dementia and cerebrovascular diseases.
You should keep your brain healthy by limiting foods high in Salt and choosing a variety of brain-healthy foods high in omega 3s.
2.9. Eating a lot of Salt Increases the Risk of Obesity
Salt retains water, so can cause you to gain weight. If you gain weight rapidly in a week or even days, it could be because you are eating too much Salt. Excessive salt intake increases the risk of obesity by increasing thirst and increasing consumption of beverages, especially soft drinks.
If you gain more than 2 pounds (about 1kg) in a day or 4 pounds (2 kg) in a week, review the foods you have eaten in the past few days and try to make changes to cut down on Salt.
2.10. Eating Salty Makes Sleepless
Salty eating habits can also negatively affect the quality of your sleep. One study found that adding more Salt to your diet can cause you to go to bed later, be unable to sleep deeply and have nightmares more often. People on the salty diet also reported feeling less comfortable after sleeping.
One theory as to why this happens is that excessive water retention due to Salt can cause frequent urination, which causes you to wake up in the middle of the night. Additionally, staying hydrated can make it harder to sleep, especially for people with sleep apnea.
Eating too much Salt will cause many harmful health consequences and reducing Salt in the daily diet is the way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and many other health problems. It should be noted that salt is found in table salt and Salt-containing spices such as soup powder, seasoning seeds, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp paste, etc., in processed foods and in natural foods.
3. How to Change Salty Eating Habits?
According to a survey by the Department of Health, currently, the average American is eating 2-3 times more Salt than the recommended amount of 5g/day. Therefore, to protect the health of you and your loved ones, you should reduce Salt in your family’s diet. Specifically:
- Prioritize choosing fresh foods instead of pre-processed Salty foods such as salted meat, canned fish, bacon, sausages, spring rolls, pickles, salted eggplant, instant noodles, chips, salted roasted cashews ,… The reason is because processed foods are often added with a lot of Salt to be preserved for a long time. If you still want to eat these foods, you should choose products with a lower Salt content (see salt or sodium ingredients on food nutrition labels).
- Choose how to prepare food: cook boiled or steamed dishes instead of dishes that require a lot of seasoning during processing such as braised, rimmed, roasted, etc. to reduce the amount of Salt from Salty foods.
- When cooking, if you want to increase or decrease the Salty seasoning, the cook should test the food before adding the seasoning to make sure to put in just the right amount, not too much. In addition, Monosodium glutamate is a sweet-tasting seasoning, but it contains sodium – similar to the main ingredient of Salt – so housewives should also limit the use of Monosodium glutamate to increase the sweetness of the dish.
- Salt should be reduced gradually so that the taste receptors can gradually adapt.
- Reduce the amount of salty seasonings that contain a lot of Salt in dishes by processing them with other spices to increase the sense of taste.
- Cook at home to proactively control Salt intake in the best way.
- Limit dipping fish sauce, soup powder,… Ideally, when eating the above sauces, users should dilute, use other spices such as lemon, chili, garlic to increase the taste, the salty taste is reduced. .
The information above can hopefully help you better understand the health problems that can occur when eating Salty foods, and at the same time answer the question of whether eating Salty is good. Salt in food is not always bad, it is important that you consume it in moderation to benefit health.
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