Salt is a regular part of our diet we rarely notice it. We put a pinch of salt when we cook at home, the burger we eat have tons of salt, the catsup for our burger and fries have salt, and the processed foods we eat are salt-filled. It is to some extent a hidden culprit. Too much salt accumulation in our body is a known risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The recommended salt intake for an adult should not exceed 6 grams a day or about a teaspoon. Children should have lesser than that. The current average daily intake of salt in the UK is 9 g per day. Americans intake is far way than what’s recommended at 13.8 grams.
Studies show that people who significantly reduced their salt intake from 10 g per day to about 7 g per day or less, on average, reduced their risk of developing a cardiovascular disease by about a quarter. Knowing your current salt intake and reducing it to the recommended level helps a lot.
Now, salt about three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy. Simply, check the food labels of the food you buy and voila you have a sense of your salt intake. To make an accurate calculation, multiply the sodium content by 2.5 and that’s the salt content. If evidently, your favourite canned goods are way too salty opt for the lower salt options.
But don’t go the other extreme, salt is extremely important in one’s diet. Our bodies approximately have one cup of salt and without salt we could not live. Salt helps in muscle contraction, digestion, heart activity and blood circulation. It also helps in maintaining fluid in our blood and also helps in the transmission of electrical impulses between our brains, nerves, and muscles. So, don’t neglect salt just don’t overuse it.
Too much salt causes high blood pressure, one of the risk factors for any cardiovascular disease such as stroke. That’s why experts recommend only using 6 grams or about one teaspoon of salt a day. While salt is a vital element the body has to have too much salt can overwhelm the kidneys. The salt that doesn’t go through the kidneys causes fluid retention that usually build around the heart.
While warnings against too much salt intake have been announced in the medical community, a vast majority remain unmoved by their love for salt. No wonder every house has a salt shaker. We just need that flavour for our popcorn or beans. We can’t seem to live without it. Also, since salt is a preservative, most of the foods are already filled with salt. Salt is in all junkies – any kind of processed food that is. Canned vegetables, canned soups, noodles, snack foods, luncheon meats and frozen foods are just some of them.
Salt is not only in the food we eat. Our condiments are also packed with salt. Catsup, for instance, is a source of salt. A tablespoon of catsup is about 190 milligrams. Well, that’s not bad at all. Usually, however, we use three to four tablespoons or more of catsup for a roasted beef or the regular hamburger and fries! The same goes with another popular condiment – soy sauce. A teaspoon of soy sauce contains about 1,150 milligrams of salt. Soy sauce lovers would not only use a teaspoon!
If you add up the salt from the food you eat plus the condiment, it maybe way beyond normal. So, when you have a hint of excessive salt intake you better begin cutting back on it or suffer the consequences later.