Do you think too much salt could be bad for you?
Salt is the most common seasoning for food in our society. Generally composed of 60% Chloride and 40% sodium, table salt is an essential element in almost everything we eat. However, studies have shown that too much salt can lead to a variety of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney stones and more.
There’s no doubt that too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, but there’s also evidence that suggests that eating too little salt could also be harmful.
In this article, we will examine the importance of salt, warning signs of having too little or too much salt, and the recommended daily amount of salt in your diet.
Why Is Salt Important For Our Diet?
Salt is one of the most essential minerals that are required by all living organisms.
Sodium helps regulate our fluid balance, maintain muscle function, nerve impulse transmission, heart rhythm, and blood pressure. It also helps in digestion of proteins and fats.
In addition, Salt helps our body to absorb other essential nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, K, and folic acid.
In addition to direct consumption, salt is also commonly used as a preservative for meats and vegetables. Due to bacteria’s inability to thrive in an overly salty environment, we are better able to enjoy fresher foods thanks to salt’s sanitary and preservative qualities.
Warning Signs of Unhealthy Salt Levels in Your Diet.
Too Much Salt
Salt is essential for our health, but too much can be harmful. It’s estimated that about 90% of Americans consume more sodium than they should.
If you are consuming more sodium than recommended by the World Health Organization, you may be experiencing some or all of these signs and symptoms: headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dry skin, frequent urination, thirst, confusion, irritability, depression, anxiety, memory loss, weight gain, joint pain, swelling, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and even death.
Too Little Salt
Sodium depletion is a much more rare occurrence in modern society. It is most commonly found in cases of heat exhaustion or similar circumstances in which an individual has undergone immense amounts of sweating. In addition, older adults can often have low blood sodium levels because of medications, illness or other conditions.
Symptoms may include abnormal behavior, lethargy, confusion, and kidney issues. However, more severe cases can lead to seizures, coma and even death.
What is the Right Amount of Salt in Your Diet?
According to the American Heart Association, while the ideal daily amount of salt for adults is 1,500 mg, the maximum amount should not exceed 2,300 mg per day.
However, according to the FDA, the average American consumes over 3,400 mg per day.
The best way to determine how much salt you need is to keep track of what you’re consuming on a daily basis. This information can be derived from reading the nutrition labels on the foods you prepare.
If results from your calculations find that you consume more than 2,300 mg of salt every day, then it would be advisable to cut down on the amount of salt you consume.
If you consume less than 1,500 mg of salt each day, then you may want to increase the amount of salt you use.
Contact Treasure Valley Metabolic For Dietary Help!
Keeping proper salt levels is only one aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. It can be a daunting task to plan your meals to accomodate for your dietary needs. At Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine, our team of experts take immense care in helping you design and execute individualized eating plans to keep you healthy and happy.
Contact us or give us a call at (208) 274-9580 to learn more.
- Salt | cdc.gov. (2021). Retrieved 13 December 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm
- Sodium Reduction. (2021). Retrieved 13 December 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/sodium-reduction
- Natarajan, A., Villar, V., & Jose, P. (2019). Renal Modulation. Nephrology And Fluid/Electrolyte Physiology, 165-188. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-323-53367-6.00011-x
- How much sodium should I eat per day? (2021). Retrieved 13 December 2021, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day