You hear all the time that we as a society eat far too much sodium in our diets. You may wonder what the big deal is and why too much sodium can possibly be bad for you. Though you always hear you should reduce your sodium intake, it helps to know exactly why that is.
The truth is that there are some undesirable short term consequences just as much as the long term drawbacks. You can see the results in the short term by having just one meal that contains too much sodium. In addition the long term health problems are probably more than you bargained for. So the next time you pick up that salt shaker think about the implications of adding too much sodium to your food.
You Retain Water and Get Bloated
Your body does need a certain level of sodium to function properly, that much is true. However when you get too much salt into the body things start to freak out a bit. Have you ever had a meal that was loaded with salt and then felt completely bloated afterwards? It’s not just your imagination as that really does happen when too much sodium enters the system.
Your body can’t deal with the excess salt and so to compensate it tends to overcompensate by pulling in more water. The more salt that you eat the more water that you retain to deal with this substance being present. The short term and very noticeable result is that you feel bloated. You notice this in belly fat and may even notice because your clothes feel tighter than they did before the excess salt consumption. This is only the short term result!
Your Organs Work Harder
Sodium attracts water and that’s why your body reacts by retaining it. The bigger problem however is that when the sodium attracts water that leads to an increased blood volume. Your body retains water, your blood volume increases, and this isn’t good at all. This not only means water retention in the form of bloating but also blood that is not operating at optimal levels.
Since the blood is watered down so to speak you will also find that this is taxing on the organs. When the blood is not in the form that it should be, this leads to the heart having to work harder to support this activity. This means increased blood pressure which is a known condition for a diet too high in sodium. Then it all boils down to the long term health issues, as if the shorter term ones aren’t bad enough!
You Are Putting Yourself at Risk of Developing Certain Health Conditions
The most notable problem with too much sodium in the diet is hypertension, or high blood pressure. This is often a condition that doesn’t develop until later on in your life and is associated with prolonged and excess sodium consumption. It gets even worse though because if you keep up with that increased sodium consumption you put yourself at risk for far worse such as heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and even congestive heart failure.
Granted these more serious conditions don’t usually occur until later on in life. However knowing that these are possibilities should most certainly force you to take a long hard look at what you are eating. Too much sodium doesn’t just hurt you in the short term, but it also puts your health at great risk later on as well. Put down the salt shaker, turn to other herbs for seasoning, and learn how to balance out sodium consumption to a healthy level for now and the future.
Hi, EBTLADY. Kosher salt is generally plain sodium chloride, so it can lead to imbalances. If you like coarse salt, we would recommend salt pan types, or Himalayan pink or Celtic gray salts, which are more mineral-rich.
What about kosher salt; is it good?
I have been aiming for 1500mg sodium per day for years now. It’s NOT easy to do. There is natural sodium in most foods, even fruits. I did see a recent study that backs up my years of experience. Fifteen % of sodium occurs naturally, another 5% comes from using table (or any other kind) salt, 5% comes from cooking (adding it), and a whopping 75% comes from processed foods. I think restaurant foods also falls into the later. I could probably add salt at the table, but I’ve found all the ideas mentioned by others works well enough.
Thank you Ossie. I have been checked out by my MD & no problems. Using Lemon seems to help, I hadn’t heard about the smoked paprika tho. I’ll be giving it a try.
Hi, Laurielong. Some seasonings can ‘fool’ your taste buds – especially garlic, vinegar, lemon, smoked paprika, and various combinations. Beyond that, have you been checked by a physician. Sometimes, though it is a bit rare, such a craving can indicate a medical issue.
I crave salt like others crave chocolate. What can I do to reduce the craving for salt? I do use a good sea salt.
Hi, SusanInsalaco. Some sea salts are, but not all. Salt pan, Aztec, and gray or Celtic sea salts that contain more minerals than they do contaminants appear to be a good choice. However, watch out for products labeled ‘sea salt’ that do not contain minerals beyond sodium and chloride, and which have heavy metals.
Is sea salt better for you than regular salt? Is the iodine good for you??
Hi, juills and GriffinRealtor. The daily recommended amount can vary depending on your medical history, ranging from 1500-3300 mg per day for most adults. An accepted middle ground is about 2300 mg.
I have high blood pressure but also have low sodium issue on occasion.
how much salt per day should I eat?
How much sodium should we consume each day?