19-Apr-2016.By: Machi' Solomon
In today’s world, people are consuming more energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fats, trans-fats, sugars, and salt than highly nutritious vitamins and vegetables. They abandon fruits, vegetables and dietary fibre that are key component of a healthy diet.
Today on #HealthyLiving, we will be discussing the effect of salt on our health. Of course salt is an essential nutrient necessary for maintaining the plasma volume, acid-base balance, transmission of nerve impulses and normal cell function; but it becomes a problem is when the body consumes more than the required amount needed per day, which in the long run lead to adverse health consequences.
According to WHO, adults are to consume less than 5grams (just less than a teaspoon) of salt per day1. But in reality, this is not so as research has shown that most people (especially in Africa) are eating much more than that; as much as 9-12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level of intake. The effect of this is that their body are at risk of some cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and coronary heart attack. Let’s see some of the effect of excess salt on our health;
Salt Raises Blood Pressure: The amount of salt we take has a direct effect on our blood pressure. Salt makes our body hold on water, but if you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
Through Salt, High Blood Pressure Causes Stroke: It’s been well established that if too much salt is eaten for too long, it can lead to high blood pressure. But do you also know that high blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels, which can increase the risk of stroke?
Salt Causes Kidney Disease: Your body removes unwanted fluid by filtering your blood through your kidney. Here an extra fluid is sucked out and put into your bladder to be removed as urine. To do this, your kidneys uses osmosis to draw the extra water out of your blood. But because salt holds fluid, the blood increases in volume, making the heart work harder to move blood through the blood vessel. Hence, making increased blood pressure damage the blood vessels in the kidney.
Stomach cancer: Although, Salt is necessary in the production of stomach acid, too much of it can actually be bad news for the stomach. As excessive salt consumption has been linked to stomach cancer.
HOW TO EAT LESS SALT
As salt is often hidden ingredient in many foods, it can sometimes be difficult to work out how much you are eating. Nevertheless, in other to keep track of your salt intake, one has to get into habit of monitoring the amount of salt intake per day. These means have been provided as a guide on salt consumption.
In conclusion, if you have been eating too much of salt, it is never too late to change your lifestyle and begin to be more health-conscious. Note that all salt that is consumed should be iodized or “fortified” with iodine, because they are essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child and also for optimizing people’s mental function in general.
Last Updated: 13-Jul-2017 10:09 AM
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