July 22, 2021

Are You Consuming Too Much Salt?

Healthy Living, Leg / Vein Health, Nutrition

While salt is necessary to keep your body properly functioning, maintain a healthy blood pressure, balance fluids in your blood and maintain nerve and muscle function (and keep your food tasting good), it is possible, and easy, to eat too much salt. Consuming too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, which is linked to conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, kidney problems, fluid retention, stroke and osteoporosis. Here are five signs that your salt intake is much too high.

Persistent thirst

Consuming salt in excess can leave you feeling parched. If you’ve ever found yourself chugging water after eating french fries or enjoying popcorn at the movie theatre, it’s likely due to the amount of salt those foods contain. You get thirsty after eating salt because it helps balance fluids inside your body’s cells.

Swelling in strange places

Sodium causes you to retain extra water, leading to bloating and swelling in different parts of your body — most commonly in your fingers and around your ankles. A simple solution for swelling caused by sodium is to cut down on your intake.

Food tastes bland and boring

Over time, your taste buds get accustomed to spices and flavors, and if your food doesn’t have that same amount of seasoning, it will taste bland. If you continuously find your food to be bland and boring, you’re likely oversalting your meals.

Frequent mild headaches

Do you frequently experience mild headaches and migraines? These headaches could be induced by dehydration. When your body detects excess salt in your bloodstream, your kidneys kick into overdrive to filter and remove the salt by making you go to the bathroom, according to Pelican Water. During this period, your body will begin to use more water, taking it from other organs and cells that need it. Drinking more water will help neutralize the salt in your body and rehydrate your cells.

You crave salty foods

When your taste buds get adapted to salty flavors, they crave for that same flavor over and over again. If you find yourself always craving salted peanuts, chips or other salty treats, you’re likely eating too much salt. Choose snacks like fresh fruit, yogurt or unsalted nuts to reduce your salt intake.

While it’s unrealistic and unhealthy to completely cut salt out of your diet, try to be mindful of your consumption and pay attention to food labels, as more than half of your daily sodium intake is likely from packaged foods.

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