It may seem as if salt is a vital necessity to all diets, and to some extent you are right. However, consuming too much salt can be bad for your body and lead to the development of some serious and life-threatening issues. In normal amounts, salt helps with nerve impulse transmission, muscle function, and fluid retention in the body. In excessive amounts, salt can be catastrophic. Here are some signs that you may be consuming too much salt and what you can do about it.
Eating too much salt robs your body of its ability to regulate fluid retention properly. Instead of keeping excess fluids out, your kidneys cut back on the amount of water that is used for urine output, leading to your body having a higher than normal blood volume , water retention, and higher numbers on the scale.
Blood Pressure and Hypertension
Your kidneys bear the brunt of so much abuse when your salt intake is high. Along with a lower water output, having a high blood volume increases the risk of hypertension because there is less water to dilute the sodium that in is your blood. To limit the amount of strain that is put on your heart, you‘ll need to lower your sodium intake. High levels of sodium in the body can lead to your arteries becoming thicker and tougher, which reduces the amount of space that is inside of your arteries’ walls. This can negatively affect blood flow because it makes it harder for oxygenated blood to flow through to all of your organs.
Brain Function and Health
Brain function and health are both negatively impacted when there is too much sodium in your diet. The arteries that lead to your brain are not able to deliver a sufficient amount of oxygen to it, leading to the malfunction and death of brain cells and an impairment of processes.
What You Can Do to Lower Your Salt Intake
You may be used to seeing salt and sodium in many of your staple foods, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. Depending on your personal health goals and lifestyle choices, you may need to start making some changes to improve them.
Watch the Labels
Carefully inspect all of the labels on your foods before you purchase them. To make it easier, you may want to steer clear of processed and refined foods.
Choose Organic Produce
Freshly grown fruits and vegetables that have been treated with little to no chemical are far healthier than fruits and vegetables that have been treated. Visit your local fruit or farmers market to enjoy a diverse offering of organic produce.
Use Natural Salt Alternatives
It is not necessary for you to pick up the salt shaker every time you feel the urge to enhance the taste of your meals. Use natural salt alternatives, such as lemons, limes, and herbs. Experiment with different herbs and foods so you can learn how to use them transform the flavour of your meals in a healthier and more appealing manner.
Drink More Water
One way to combat sodium overload is to make sure you are drinking enough water. Although salt increases feelings of thirst, it also increases cravings for sweets, which may cause you to lean more towards drinking sugary beverages instead of water.
Make Better Food Selections
Since sodium is present in so many foods, you may find it hard to avoid consuming too much. A great way to make the task easier and more achievable is for you to make better food choices. Slowly start moving away from your normal food selections at the grocery store. Start replacing them with healthier alternatives that have less refined ingredients and more natural ones. For example, Hampton Creek is one food brand that has a large selection of tasty foods that are very low in sodium and other unnatural ingredients.
Practice Caution When Dining Out
When it comes to dining out, you need to remember that most dishes contain moderate levels of sodium in them. If you don’t see heart healthy alternatives on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask the staff if there are some available. Many restaurants don’t mind accommodating guests who have special dietary needs.
Keep your priorities in order while you are making changes to lower your sodium intake. If you want to live a longer and healthier life, leave the salt shaker alone.
*This is a collaborative post*