According to WHO recommendations, our salt intake shouldn’t cross 2000 mg (2 grams) of salt a day. That’s less than a teaspoon. Now compare that to the salt we actually consume, whether it’s through cooked meals or packaged and processed meals. Add the sodium from biscuits, chips, pickles, and other condiments like ketchup and, you’ll agree, it’s not looking good!
Salt (like sugar) hides in everyday foods we take for granted like bread, buns, processed cheese, pasta, spaghetti, chips, and instant soups
How Our Body Reacts To Excess Salt
The sodium in salt plays an important role in many bodily functions. But go overboard and you risk some serious grief. When we eat salt, the sodium eventually ends up in our bloodstream and tries to draw more water into our blood vessels to balance the concentration levels.
Our blood vessels are really tiny and too much liquid can cause a lot of pressure. The pressure that is being raised is your blood pressure. Over several years, this constant surge of pressure will damage the walls of your blood vessels. Soon, plaque buildup will narrow the walls of your blood vessels, forcing your heart to work harder to pump the same amount of blood.
Too much salt not only raises blood pressure, it reduces the ability of your kidneys to clear away waste from your body. It also puts greater strain on your heart and your brain, leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and kidney disease.
How To Reduce Your Salt Intake
Increase your fresh food intake
Load up on low-sodium fruits like apples, pears, pineapples, watermelons are some low-sodium fruits. Okra, lettuce, cauliflower, and green cabbage are good veggie options that are low in sodium. You can use more herbs and spices to flavor your food so you don’t miss salt.
Use fewer sodium-overdose condiments
Be sure to read food labels. Ketchup, dips, salad dressings, and sauces are usually top of the charts on the sodium scale.
Skip processed foods
Some common everyday processed foods you need to go easy on include packaged breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, and soft drinks. Choose fresh meat over packaged meats.
Cut out fast food
This one is seemingly impossible for most people. The big, chunky, cheesy burgers, those hefty salami sandwiches, nuggets, and chicken wings you look forward to? Salt traps, all of them. Although these may be easily available and cheaper too, your body pays the price.
Our urban lifestyle has got us eating way too much salt, most of it without even knowing it. It’s time to cut back and be more mindful of what we are feeding our body. Make the change today!