FoodExcessive salt intake: Spotting the early signs and protecting against potential health risks

Excessive salt intake: Spotting the early signs and protecting against potential health risks

Salting the cake
Salting the cake
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Alfred Hofer
12:44 PM EST, February 9, 2024

The tongue plays a crucial role in our daily lives. In addition to enabling us to speak, it also helps us identify various tastes. This remarkable organ perceives five basic flavors—sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and umami. As one of the fundamental food items, salt is responsible for providing meals with a savory taste.

While we frequently discuss sugar addiction, we seldom address the subject of excessive salt intake, even though it is present in almost every food product. Many people are unaware that their daily diet includes too much salt, which can have detrimental impacts on their health. But what are the early signs of consuming too much salt? Let's discuss it.

Salt isn't as healthy as it's often portrayed

Salt is an essential ingredient in our kitchen. Just a sprinkle of it can transform the flavor profile of any dish. This unassuming powder also works as a preservative and functions as an electrolyte. However, the body only requires a small amount of salt for optimal health.

The issues arise when we start using it excessively. The World Health Organization guidelines recommend that we limit our salt intake to no more than 0.176 oz per day. Unfortunately, many of us consume a lot more than this recommended amount, leading to serious health complications such as hypertension, strokes, or coronary heart diseases.

First symptoms of excess salt in the body are often overlooked

Comprising approximately 70 percent water, our body excretes fluids through urine. Therefore, it's recommended that we consume at least 0.53 gallons of liquids each day, mostly in the form of water. Sometimes, the body starts retaining water. A visible symptom of this is swelling on the face and body, which also indicates excessive salt intake, as salt traps water in the body.

Find yourself reaching for a glass of water after a meal? You might want to examine your diet. Excessive thirst could mean that you are consuming too much salt. Another common sign of high salt intake is migraines. Research suggests that surplus sodium in the body can exacerbate migraines. In severe cases, it could even lead to high blood pressure, raising the risk of strokes and coronary heart diseases.

Your health should be your top priority. If you hope to maintain good health for as long as possible, consider reducing your salt intake. Start with small adjustments, gradually decreasing the amount of salt you use until you reach the recommended daily intake which is no more than 1/16 tsp. That's all your body truly needs.

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