For years you may have heard from your doctor or you could have read articles claiming that salt is bad for you. This would have prompted you to give up salt intake altogether or you may have cut down your salt consumption drastically. Typically, salt intake is reduced by people when they are diagnosed with elevated blood pressure, kidney problems or heart disease. However, often people have a lingering question whether salt is really bad for them.
Benefits of Salt Consumption
Salt is not all that bad, as long as the consumption is not too much. The body requires salt for many things. Salt is responsible for carrying nutrients between cells. In addition, it is required to make body fluids, such as amniotic fluid, blood plasma and extra-cellular fluid. Salt is also responsible for sending signals to the brain so that it can move muscles in the body when required; it is required for proper regulation of blood pressure; salt is necessary for keeping the right balance of blood sugar; and finally salt is even known to increase a person’s energy levels.
So it appears that totally cutting down salt from your diet may not be such a good idea.
Is Salt Really Bad For You?
Salt is not really bad for you, but if your intake of salt is high, it can be extremely bad for you. The first thing that high intake of salt affects is the blood pressure. Salt causes the body to keep in water instead of flushing it out. Hence, when salt intake is more than necessary, more water is stored in the body and this causes the blood pressure to rise.
Elevated blood pressure puts additional load on the kidneys, heart, brain and arteries. This can damage these vital organs irreversibly. Also, people who consume too much salt are at a higher risk of getting heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and dementia. Hence, it is the excess salt that people eat that is dangerous and harmful for the body. Eating a little salt is not considered bad, as it helps to make the food more palatable.
Ironically, it is not the addition of salt in the food that we cook that harms the body. Majority of a person’s salt intake comes from eating processed foods. These foods are extremely high in salt, and as a result people end up consuming too much salt, which is bad for health. Processed foods include readymade meals, chips, biscuits, cookies, takeaways and breads.
What Does Research Say?
The scientific community has been at loggerheads over salt. Some researchers claim that salt is bad for health and should be avoided, while others claim that reduction of salt can be harmful for the body. One particular study in Europe found that people, who consumed less salt, were more likely to succumb to heart disease. The study also claimed that slight increase in salt intake did not result in elevated blood pressure. However, this study has drawn a lot of criticism, including from the CDC.
How Much Salt Should You Consume?
While researchers are still debating on salt consumption, it is best to stay safe. There was a research that was done in the 1980s that claimed high intake of salt is bad for health. So rather than being sorry later on, it is best to eat a restricted amount of salt. A person should not consume over 6 gm of salt every day. So be very particular about your food choices. Just a person who consumes a healthy diet eats this amount of salt daily. All others are probably consuming too much salt.
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Ezine Articles: Why Is Salt Bad For You? Reasons To Eat Less Salt