Imagine that your favorite curry is prepared for the dinner, but your mom forgot to add salt to it.
Would you feel like eating it bland?
What would have happened if there were no salt on earth?
Would our food have been the same?
Salt is an inevitable and a ‘strictly necessary’ member of our kitchen.
It adds to the taste of our food which is an important part of our culture. Have we ever thought about the effect of salt on our body?
Let us have a look-
Hypertension is one of the most widely spread lifestyle diseases. It is the disease of the rich but is it really because of salt?
If it is so, then why do poor not suffer from it as much as the rich do? Let us dig for some answers.
Salt is known to make our body retain water and with the increased level of water content our blood pressure begins to shoot up.
Hence it is said that excess intake of salt leads to high blood pressure or Hypertension. People who have low blood pressure are advised to consume it.
An average adult is expected to consume not more than 6g of salt (one pinch of it is approximately 1g). But we unknowingly consume much more than what is expected by our body.
How do we consume salt unknowingly?
- Out of our total consumption of salt, 80% of it is consumed unknowingly. Rest 20% constitutes of the that we sprinkle at our dinner table or add during preparation of the meal. It means only 20% of it is consumed from our kitchen.
- Rest 80% undoubtedly goes into our body in the form of fast food, chips, cookies etc.
- Various sauces on our table like Soy sauce, Chilly Sauce, Mustard sauce contain lot of salt.
- Tomato ketchup, our must-have dip, also has lots of salt in it.
- Apart from these, pickles are also high on salt, as they are preserved with the help of salt.
- Bread and various breakfast cereals give us our morning dose of salt.
- Smoke meat and fish are also equally guilty of carrying huge amount of salt with them.
Why should we care?
- High intake of salty foods leads to hypertension. High blood pressure leads to heart attack or stroke, dementia and kidney diseases.
What should we do?
- While buying your grocery opt for the products which have low salt option.
- Instead of sodium, opt for potassium rich diet. Fruits like Banana, Avocado; vegetables and legumes like Spinach, Broccoli, and White Potato are rich in potassium.
- Avoid anything that is processed or canned and packaged.
- Use lime instead of salt, wherever possible.
Does the excess salt affect our weight?
Yes, it does affect our weight.
As mentioned earlier, salt make our body retain water. Due to this property of salt our body gains, what is called as, ‘Water weight’.
This weight is what makes us feel bloated. It causes swelling in face and hands and also joint pain.
Sodium is one of the chemicals in salt. 1g of Sodium is equal to 2.5g of salt.
Sodium, although necessary for our body, is harmful.
We cannot completely avoid salt as our body needs it. Salt helps us to maintain the right balance of fluids, which are necessary for proper functioning of our body and nerves.
But when we exceed the measure, our brain starts to react. The chemical alteration of the brain leads to problems like Dementia.
Salt creates excess fluid in our body which leads to hypertension. But have you ever noticed that salty food actually makes us thirstier. If you simply drink water to quench your thirst, it is ok.
But if you pick up those sugar-laden beverages, you are in a deep trouble. Diet soda would be more disastrous as it are full of sodium.
Is Salt really addictive?
People are addicted to stuff like Nicotine and Alcohol, but salt? It seems yes, we tend to get addicted to food with high salt content. You don’t believe me?
Take French fries for example. Don’t we just crave for them almost at any time of the day, month or year?
This is what addiction is all about. To add to our problems, these fast foods are wickedly full of fats and calories.
What should we do?
- Exercise may help you to sweat out all the excess fluid. So if you exercise regularly, then ‘Water Weight’ may not be a problem for you.
- Consume food like Yogurt, Brown rice, Cabbage, Cranberry juice etc. They will help you improve your digestion and also allow fluids to move evenly through your body.
We cannot completely stop consuming salt, but we can surely do something about that 80% of the salt that we consume unknowingly (now you know about it).