Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
WHO has recommended intake of 5 grams of salt per day. However, according to various studies, we Indians consume almost 10 grams of it each day that is double the recommended amount! While salt is essential both for taste and health reasons, excessive consumption can cause many serious illnesses including coronary diseases, stroke, etc. Many of us understand these risks, but still, prioritize our personal tastes over our health. So, to motivate you to make the change, here are 7 reasons to reduce salt in your diet now.
You must have heard that adding more salt to the diet can help with dizziness, nausea and blurry vision. All these are symptoms of low blood pressure and salt certainly helps with that. However, on the flip side, excess consumption of salt can cause high blood pressure. And high blood pressure, in turn, can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, thickened blood vessels, dementia, and many such complicated diseases. Adding to the risk, people tend not to get treated for high blood pressure as it doesn’t hinder their day-to-day life much. These people are ignoring the fact that eventually, they will fall prey to more complicated diseases later on in their lives. Hence, you must start minding the amount of salt you consume daily.
A stroke occurs when there’s a rupture, blockage or bleeding of blood vessels in the brain due to which blood and oxygen don’t reach it. Without oxygen and blood, brain cells cannot function as a result of which they die in a few minutes. It also becomes the cause of mental diseases like dementia as the brain loses its ability to work efficiently. Most people think that stroke is an inevitable part of aging but that is not the case. With a healthy lifestyle and controlled diet, you can reduce your chances of suffering a stroke.
An adequate amount of salt helps in keeping the body hydrated and prevents dehydration. However, if there is a high amount of salt in the body, the body will retain up to 1.5 liters of water. This will cause you to feel bloated. For this reason, you’ve got to keep your salt intake controlled.
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease is a condition that happens due to the thickening or damaging of blood vessels. The blood flow to the heart through these damaged arteries is reduced which eventually becomes the cause of heart attack. You might not notice the damage happening to the arteries until they are completely blocked. To prevent such a situation and a mishap follow a healthy lifestyle and keep your salt consumption to the minimum.
Bacteria called Helicobacter pylori lives in our stomach. These bacteria can cause inflammation of the stomach which can further lead to stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Since this bacteria thrives on high salt content you must limit your salt intake to prevent the damage done by these bacteria.
Osteoporosis is a condition wherein bones become brittle and prone to fractures. Salt is one of the major causes of it. A high amount of salt in the body causes calcium loss from the bones, which is then excreted out of the body through urine. High blood pressure, which again happens due to high salt intake, can speed up this process. Older people are more at risk as with age the bones anyway become thin. Thus, make sure your diet doesn’t contain too much salt.
Kidney stones are caused by a buildup of calcium in the kidneys. As you now know that high blood pressure and a high amount of salt in the body cause calcium loss which is excreted into the urine by the kidneys. This can cause a buildup of calcium in the kidneys and hence, the development of kidney stones which can be extremely painful. Moreover, this high amount of salt puts extra pressure on the kidneys and disrupts their functions. Due to this, you can also develop various kidney diseases.
A healthy and nutritious diet is completely in your control. Curb your salt intake to reduce your chances of developing such diseases. If you are already noticing any symptoms or aren’t sure about your health status, then you should get a health checkup done to further identify your course of proper treatment.
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