Why you should cut salt out of your diet
Posted on 11 November 2015
Salt is a huge part of our diets and is becoming more massively used as the years pass. Even if you are super healthy you should cut back on adding salt to your diet so that you can avoid adding unnecessary stress on your heart. Salt increases your blood pressure and is the primary influence in causing heart attacks, heart failure and strokes, which is the leading cause of death within the US. Salt has also been shown to affect the health of your other primary organs such as kidneys and livers. Do not misunderstand, however, as our bodies do need just a small amount of salt for our health. This is typically consumed through natural sodium contained in the foods we eat, such as meat. Health officials claim that adult body’s minimum requirement for sodium is about 0.5 grams and that the recommended daily consumption is only under 2.5 grams of salt per day (at the most) and children need even less than that. Studies show that the average American eats about 8 grams a day which is about 3 times more than our recommended amount. If that isn’t reason enough for you to cut salt out of your diet, then here are more reasons why you should cut salt out of your diet.
Blood Pressure - as mentioned before, high salt intake will increase your blood pressure. Being overweight and lacking in exercise can also increase your blood pressure which will lead to heart attacks and strokes. One third of the American population suffers from high blood pressure and many people don’t even know they have it since there are no symptoms. This is what makes them extremely dangerous as attacks can spur up spontaneously.
Coronary Heart Disease - Also known as CHD is the most common type of heart disease and it kills over 370,000 Americans every year. Coronary Heart Disease is what happens when the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked which inevitably leads to heart failure and heart attaches. Excess salt intake can raise blood pressure which can pose the risk for CHD. This is because it will cause the walls of your blood vessels to thicken so that your blood vessels become too narrow and consequently can’t transport enough blood to your heart. Eventually this condition can cause your heart muscle to thicken which will reduce your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body, causing you to experience heart failure. In other situations, having narrow blood vessels can also cause you to form blood clots which will halt any blood supply going towards your heart, which will lead you to have a heart attack. Cutting out salt, or at least lowering your salt intake, will reduce your high blood pressure and, in turn, will reduce your risk for heart diseases and failures.
Stroke - A stroke can occur when the brain does not receive blood supply which reduces the flow of oxygen to your brain, causing brain cells to die. The two primary types of strokes are ischemic, which is caused by blocked blood vessels, and hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused when a burst blood vessel bleeds into your brain. Stroke kills about 130,000 Americans per year and is also a leading cause for long term disability. Once again, high blood pressure is the leading factor that contributes to strokes.
Stomach Cancer - Excess salt can increase your risk of stomach cancer. Every year an average of about 25,000 Americans are diagnosed with stomach cancer (37% are women). The bacteria known as Helicobacter Pylori (a type of bacterial infection) is the primary contributor to the cause of stomach cancer because it prompts inflammation in your stomach which can lead to ulcers/cancer. Although Helicobacter Pylori may not be the cause of damage, salt intake can inflict damage on your stomach lining which will make it vulnerable to the effects of the Helicobacter Pylori infection. Salt can even speed up the growth and damage of the bacteria, making it worse.
Kidney Stones and Disease - Kidney Stones are a very common problem and are usually mild. 1 in 10 Americans will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. Kidney stones are caused by a build up of calcium in your kidneys. High salt intake and high blood pressure will cause an excess amount of calcium to be pumped by your kidneys in your urine which becomes a kidney stone. Kidney stones can be incredibly painful to the point where you can’t walk and can lead to kidney disease in the worst case. Your kidneys have the important job of controlling fluid balance within your body. A heavy salt diet can burden your kidneys and cause kidney disease.
Osteoporosis - Osteoporosis is the condition in which your bones become thinner, making them more prone to breaking. Over 10 million Americans suffer from Osteoporosis and over 43 million have low bone mass. This means that more than half of the US adult population is currently affected by brittle bones. A majority of the calcium in out bodies are stored within our bones. A salty diet can cause a calcium deficiency which will make our bones weak. High blood pressure, which is caused by taking in excess salt can speed up the loss of calcium from your bones.
As you can see, high blood pressure is the leading cause of many critical situations and diseases. Most of which can be prevented by cutting out salt. Salt is mostly hard to avoid when dining out in restaurants and when eating processed foods. You can monitor your salt intake by cooking more often at home and eliminating salt as a seasoning. Ms Dash seasoning is a popular choice for added flavor without adding extra salt to your diet.