Salt is much more than just a seasoning. It’s essential for our bodily functions but it can also be detrimental to our health when we go overboard The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends everyone eat less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, which is roughly the amount in one teaspoon of salt. The American Heart Association advises going even lower to 1,500 mg. Most American adults get an average of 3,400 mg a day and kids currently take in about 3,100 mg a day. On the other hand, going too low can make you feel tired and weak, especially if you exercise a lot. Aiming for a salt-free or sodium-free diet isn’t realistic or healthy.
Constantly adding salt to your meals? Here are a few reasons why it could be harming your health.
Increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Eating too much salt has long been considered dangerous because excess sodium (a component of salt) can raise your blood pressure–which in turn can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. That’s because sodium can make the kidneys hold on to extra water, boosting blood volume and making it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body. About one in three Americans has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
It may lead to weight gain
In 2015, researchers in London found evidence that suggested a link between sodium and obesity. By measuring sodium levels in more than 1,200 study participants’ urine and recording their food intake over a four-day period, they found that those with high salt levels were more likely to be overweight, even if they weren’t eating more calories than the low- salt group.
Too much salt can hurt your sleep
If you find yourself making frequent nighttime bathroom trips, salt could be a key factor. A recent European study found that men over 60 who reduced their salt intake by 25 per cent decreased the number of times they got up to urinate in the night, from 2.3 to 1.4 times, on average.
Research shows that higher intake of salt, sodium, or salty foods is linked to an increase in stomach cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that salt, as well as salted and salty foods, are a “probable cause of stomach cancer.”
Don’t view salt as the enemy but use it to make healthy foods taste even better. Only 10 percent of our sodium intake actually comes from the salt shaker when we’re cooking or eating. Adding salt to already nutritious foods like roasted vegetables is a good thing if it means they’re tastier and more tempting for everyone