You might find yourself always asking people to pass the salt, because you like it on everything. But, did you ever stop to think of what too much is doing to you?
A crazy 75 percent of all the sodium the average American consumes comes from processed foods as well as restaurant meals.
Just take a look at the nutrition facts on the back of the packages of your favorite foods. You'll find there's high levels of sodium in just about everything.
The restaurants are a whole other problem, as they have 412 extra mg of sodium per meal. Oddly enough, fast food only has an extra 287 mg of sodium.
As for how much salt you should consume, The American Heart Association recommends Americans consume less than 1,500 mg per day, and The Dietary Guidelines for Americans wants no more than 2,300 mg a day. Yet despite the recommendations, the average American consumes about 3,400 mg of salt per day.
Rather than stress, just be aware by taking into consideration these six things.
1. Your Entire Body Experiences Swelling
A week of French fries and potato chips will surely give you puffy eyes, lips and cheeks. This swelling is known as edema, but it's not serious. It can also happen in your hands, ankles and legs as well. And it's not just a symptom of a week's worth of binging. Even just one night can cause this. Dr. Neal B. Schultz, who is an NYC dermatologist, says the older we are, the more likely we are to experience this, however lots of water and a break from salt ought to do the trick.
2. You Experience Dehydration
It's easy to forget to balance out all our sodium intake with enough water. And when you do forget, your system will take water from your cells, which your cells desperately need. Experiencing extreme thirst? You're likely dealing with dehydration. You might even have nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
[bctt tweet="6 Ways Too Much Salt Hurts Your Body"]
3. A Stomach Ulcer Might Happen
When scientists of a study published in the journal Gut
analyzed the salt intake of individuals across eight different countries, they discovered that it was connected with gastric ulcers in the stomach. They're thought to result from metaplasia, in which healthy tissue becomes sour and affects the mucous lining of the stomach. Even worse is that the ulcers could turn into stomach cancer. A 1996 study called the International Journal of Epidemiology
found that men and women who died from stomach cancer consumed high amounts of salt.
4. Your Kidneys Suffer
Your kidneys work to decide when it's time to get rid of water and when it should be retained, but too much sodium throws off the balance between those actions. Too much salt may cause bloating and edema. Furthermore, it could cause more urinary calcium in your body which can cause kidney stones. The imbalances can even result in kidney disease.
5. You Might Experience Stiffening of the Arteries
The American Journal of Clinical
published a study in 2011 that analyzed how blood flow is affected by salt. What it found was that, after just half an hour of eating a meal with high-sodium, blood flow was significantly impaired. For the study, scientists kept a watch on 16 adults, analyzing how the arteries worked to pump blood both before as well as after each meal.
High-sodium food caused the arteries to stop pumping blood to the rest of the body as well as it typically would without so much salt.
One of the researchers, Graham MacGregor, said that a salty meal can alter "the function of the cells that line your artery." This is in relation to just four grams of salt.
6. Blood Pressure Goes Up
Consuming tons of salt over a long period of time? This might be a side effect, since the same fluid retention that results in swelling is responsible for high blood pressure. All that salt causes your heart to suffer, as it can't get the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients that it needs. A stroke or heart attack may even end up happening due to all the extra work you blood has to do.
Be sure to get your blood pressure checked every now and again to make sure salt isn't causing any serious issues. If you feel chest pain, call your doctor.
Are you a salt lover?