Salt is an important mineral required for our body. It is the primary source of sodium and chloride ions in the human diet. It is necessary for nerve and muscle function and is also used to regulate body fluids. Sodium per se has a role in the body’s control of blood pressure and volume. It furthermore functions to increase circulation.
Salt has long been used for flavoring, preserving, providing texture, and enhancing the colour of food. Due to these reasons, it is used in food production. It is well known that the healthiest forms of salt are the least refined with no added preservatives. However, too much salt increases the risk of health conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Kidney problems
- Fluid retention
Salt and Hypertension: The link
Your kidneys are the central organs that filter about 200 liters of blood each day. Consequently, they excrete toxins, fluids, and other unwanted substances from cells throughout the body. When too much salt (sodium chloride) is amassed in the kidneys, it becomes harsher for your kidneys to eliminate the fluid. This fluid then accumulates in your system thus increasing your blood pressure. This may result in blood pressure more than normal, a condition called hypertension.
Damage to cardiovascular system
In the long run, excessive consumption of salt gives rise to hypertension. It also makes the blood vessels hard and narrow. This reduces blood and oxygen flow to vital organs. Consequently, pumping blood to the whole body becomes difficult for the heart and in turn further increases blood pressure. This results in a damaging effect on the cardiovascular system of the body.
Most often people don’t notice that their blood pressure is high. Nevertheless, they can have symptoms. Few symptoms of excess salt intake have been listed below-
- Swelling in the legs than usual
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired and discomfort
It’s always a smart move to have a BP machine with you to keep a check on your blood pressure, especially if you are at a high risk of hypertension.
The main source of sodium in our diet is salt, although it may come from other processed food as well. Salt intake of lesser than 5 grams per day for adults supports reducing blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases. Alternatives for salt like garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast are also available. Himalayan pink salt has become popular as a replacement to regular salt, apparently because it is less troublesome for the human body. On a whole, along with adding needed taste to your taste buds, it is important to consume salt in adequate amounts.
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