I Bet You Are Eating More Salt Than You Should
Sodium is one of those ingredients that we all know is unhealthy, but we can’t seem to get away from it. It is too easy to add a few extra pinches of salt in our meals anyways. Plus, salt is everywhere. It is on every table in every restaurant, it is in your favorite snacks, and is the primary source of flavor for most cultures. This makes it is safe to say that sodium has taken over the world.
We have all been warned about the dangers of having high sodium diets for decades. Why? Because Sodium increases blood pressure and is a common risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Health organizations throughout North America recommend that we should aim for less than 1500 mg of sodium per day and not exceed 2300 mg per day.
1500 mg of sodium is about 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of sodium. This seems like a lot when you look at the amount as a whole, but most people are eating way more than 2300 mg a day. The average intake of sodium is 3400 mg, and most of it comes from processed food.
Here are 3 reasons why salt is bad for you.
If you are pre-diabetic one of the first things you should do is look at how much salt you put into your body every day. Salt increases the risk of developing diabetes by raising blood pressure. Factors, like being overweight, lack of exercise, and a high salt diet can increase your blood pressure. This then leads to heart attacks and strokes, as well as increases your chances of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
If you’re or have already been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes then you can also benefit from eating less salt. By eating less salt your blood pressure will be at a healthier level and you will reduce the risk of long-term diabetic complications.
In general, by keeping your salt intake down, watching what you eat and exercising you will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
2. Heart Disease
Heart disease occurs when the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked. This leads to heart failure. Raised blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It causes the blood vessel walls to become so narrow that blood has a hard time getting to the heart. If this keeps happening, your heart muscle will thicken and reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood around your body. Your heart could than fail and you could experience a heart attack. Thickened blood vessels walls can also lead to blood clots. These clots prevent blood from reaching the heart causing a potential heart attack.
Raised blood pressure is the leading cause and a major risk factor for heart attacks. Since salt increases blood pressure, lowering salt intake can dramatically reduce your chances of heart disease.
Obesity is a serious and costly epidemic and has become a nationwide concern. The United States has the highest obesity rate where roughly two out of three adults are overweight or obese. That is 69% of the population.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index or BMI of 30 or higher. It is linked with numerous health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Salt does not cause weight gain by itself. It does, however, make you thirsty. Leading you to drink more sugary drinks that can cause weight gain.
Heart attacks are one of North America’s biggest killers and are more frequent in women than men (link to article). Approximately 300,000 people have a heart attack each year.
Is Sodium Bad Or Good For You?
All of this information doesn’t mean that sodium is bad for you. On the contrary, new studies have shown that sodium is essential to having a healthy diet. A balanced diet means that you need some salt in your system every day.
However, not all salt is created equal. Modern table salt has little in common with natural unrefined salt. Table salt can damage your health, whereas natural salt, like Himalayan salt can be good for you.
Natural salt is 84% sodium chloride and 16% natural minerals.
Processed table salt is 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% man-made chemicals.
When you exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Salt helps you remain at a healthy level during workouts by maintaining your intracellular and extracellular fluid balances.
In the end, it is all about balancing your food. Especially since too little sodium can cause harm to your body. Studies have shown that restricting salt causes the following:
1. Increased your LDL and Triglycerides
2. Cause Insulin resistance
3. Hyponatremia in athletes
How much sodium should you have?
Too little or too much sodium can be harmful to your diet. Most people get their sodium from fast food restaurants and processed foods. Studies have shown that restricting sodium in your diet has no benefits. So what is the recommended amount of salt/sodium? The best way to balance sodium is change your food choices by starting to read labels and eat real food. You can do this by cooking most of your food from home. This way you are in control of the amount of salt that goes into your meals.
If you want to start a healthier lifestyle or are already on the path please download the Kudolife App. Kudolife is a free activity and calorie tracker that helps you live a more balanced life. Don’t let your health wait.
You can also read more about health and nutrition by going to the Kudolife Blog.