Our body needs salt because of the sodium ions it contains.
Sodium is an electrolyte just like potassium, calcium bicarbonate, magnesium phosphate, and chloride.
Electrolytes are needed by every cell in our body and are responsible for the following:
- Regulation of nerve and muscle function
- Maintaining right balance between blood acidity and pressure
- Repair of damaged tissue
However, like everything else in life, salt should be consumed in moderation. Too much salt intake can lead to many health complications, like high blood pressure, heart disease, hypernatremia, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Signs that You Are Eating Too Much Salt
- Bloating. Your stomach is feeling tight or swollen due to the buildup of extra fluid. This is because one of the functions of salt in the body is to retain water. When you eat too much salt, your body retains a lot of water.
- High blood pressure. Due to too much fluid in the body, the kidneys may have a hard time getting rid of it, thus leading to a spike in blood pressure.
- Puffiness. Your face, hands, feet, and other body parts may appear to be swollen due to excess fluid.
- Abnormal thirst. Your body is suffering from dehydration because it pulls out water from your cells.
- Unusual weight gain. Your weight suddenly increases because your body is retaining so much water.
- Excessive urination. You may have been going to the bathroom a lot to pee.
- Troubled sleep. Too much salt in the blood makes you feel restless, unable to sleep well, and enervated in the morning.
- Physical weakness. Your cells are expending more energy to get rid of excess salt in your body, so you might feel exhausted.
- Troubled stomach. Since you are dehydrated, your stomach suffers too, and it can make you feel nauseous. You may also experience cramps, stomach upset, or diarrhea.
So how much salt do we need every day?
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the daily value for sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. That is equal to almost one teaspoon of salt.
Pay attention to your salt intake to enjoy a healthier and longer life!