Salt is a mineral consisting mostly of sodium chloride and sea water. It is used every day in kitchens all over the world in the preparation and cooking of food!
With our increasingly busy lifestyles, we are spending very little time preparing and cooking food at home. Instead we use more processed/quick to prepare foods which tend to have more salt. Also, eating out is more popular than ever, which means we are consuming a lot more salt than is good for us!
Did you know?
Most of the processed foods we consume will contain a substantial amount more salt than the human body will ever need.
The recommended level of salt intake for the body in one day is 3 grams! You only need to read the back of any processed food to see quite clearly the amount of salt you are ingesting, and I have never met a chef who doesn’t liberally tip the salt into the pan when cooking!
Graham MacGregor (professor of cardiovascular medicine) shares “Salt in minimal amount is important as it prevents salt deprivation in the body, but if taken in a higher amount, the consequences may not be good for our health. These days, people are more dependent on processed foods that contain high sugar and salt content. They have no time to cook food so the only option is processed foods. But indirectly, by favouring such foods they consume more salt and invite obesity, high blood pressure, heart strokes, bleeding in the brain, heart attacks, and other associated problems. The consequences of these problems become visible with time only but can be avoided by leading a healthy life and opting for healthy eating habits”
The processed food industry is without doubt one of the main reason the population of the world consumes more salt directly or indirectly. With the rise in serious health issues significantly increasing across the world every year, we have to attribute this somewhat to the high consumption of salt and sugar in our foods.
Here is how high salt consumption affects our bodies. High blood pressure, bleeding in the brain, strokes, heart attack, and heart failures can all result because of high salt consumption.
Use sodium and potassium to excrete any fluid we intake. Consuming more salt means more pressure on the kidneys and disturbing the balance of a normal fluid excretion. This results in high blood pressure and kidney damage due to the extra strain caused by high salt consumption over a long period of time.
High blood pressure caused by increased salt consumption also affects arteries. In the case of high blood pressure, arteries adjust their size to cope with the extra pressure causing even more pressure. This dangerous cycle can cause arteries to clog up entirely. This can lead to organs reliant on a good blood flow from the arteries to become damaged and starved of the nutrients they need.
High blood pressure due to increased salt intake may also damage the arteries connected to our brains. Firstly, blocked arteries may cause a condition known as Vascular Dementia (cells are deprived supply of nutrients and oxygen). If this condition is left untreated for long, the arteries may burst or get clogged completely. The part of the brain that is starved of nutrients and oxygen will die. This may cause a stroke affecting movement, speech and in some cases death.
Artery damage caused by salt intake can be very dangerous to the heart. When the cells don’t receive a good supply of nutrients and oxygen, this will inevitably lead to a heart attack. It is essential to keep the heart healthy by lowering your salt intake.
Controlling salt consumption on a day to day basis will contribute to a healthier life. It can also help prevent the serious health problems associated with salt and its consumption.