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Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Why We Need Salt in Our Diet — But Not Too Much

Disadvantages of eating salt: Adding salt separately to cooked foods can cause bone and kidney problems, find out from experts how much salt should be eaten daily.

Do you also eat salt separately from cooked foods? Do you also eat more packaged food? Too much salt can make you sick, as too much salt is bad for your health. Dietitian and nutritionist Shilpa Mittal explains how much salt should be eaten throughout the day and what can be done to the body by eating too much salt.

Explaining the disadvantages of eating too much salt, dietitian Shilpa Mittal says, "According to the WHO, everyone should consume only one teaspoon or five grams of salt throughout the day. More salt than that is harmful to health. One teaspoon of salt is not harmful to a healthy person, but people who already have heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney problems, etc. should not consume too much salt. '

Why We Need Salt in Our Diet — But Not Too Much

Health Benefits: Why We Need Salt in Our Diet — But Not Too Much

Often, doctors suggest eating less salt to lower sodium intake because most Americans get too much without even trying.

While it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the amount of salt in your diet, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate guidelines, don’t avoid it entirely, as this mineral plays an important role in how your body functions. Here’s a look at why you need salt in your diet:

Helps Thyroid Function Properly

Your thyroid plays an important role in metabolism. But for your thyroid to work properly, your body needs the mineral iodine, which is found in many foods. An iodine deficiency prevents your body from producing enough of the thyroid hormone. 

Symptoms of a deficiency include an enlarged thyroid, constipation, difficulty thinking, fatigue, and sensitivity to cold. Because iodine is also added to most salts (they are labeled “iodized”), having some iodized salt in your diet can help your thyroid function properly. 

Keeps the Body Hydrated

Salt also promotes healthy hydration levels and electrolyte balance, which is necessary for organs to function properly. Your cells, muscles, and tissues need water, and salt helps these parts of your body maintain the right amount of fluid. Inadequate hydration can cause dehydration, making you more susceptible to muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. 

Prevents Low Blood Pressure

An inadequate amount of sodium in your diet can also lead to low blood pressure (hypotension), which is a reading below 90/60 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). if either number is low, blood pressure is considered low. (7) Signs of low blood pressure include dizziness, nausea, fainting, and blurry vision.

Improves Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

People living with cystic fibrosis lose more salt in their sweat than the average person. They need more water and salt in their diet to avoid dehydration. If you have this condition, consult your doctor to see how much salt you need daily based on your activity level. Requirements vary, but some people may need up to 6,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. 

How Much Salt a Day Is Okay, and How Much Is Too Much?

Americans eat about 3,400 mg of sodium per day on average. A single teaspoon of table salt contains about 2,325 mg of sodium, according to the Mayo Clinic, which interestingly is more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 for adults and children. 

Keep in mind that some people should reduce their sodium intake even further, perhaps consuming no more than 1,500 mg per day. This limit is recommended for all African-Americans, as well as anyone who has diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or chronic kidney disease. 

What Are the Health Risks of Eating Too Much Salt?

Now that you know how salt can help you, here’s a look at how too much salt can hurt you:

Increases Water Retention

If you eat too much salt, your kidneys may not be able to filter excess sodium from your bloodstream. Sodium builds up in your system, and your body holds onto extra water in an attempt to dilute the sodium. This can cause water retention and bloating.

Damages Cardiovascular Health

Excess water in your body can put added pressure on your heart and blood vessels, triggering high blood pressure. This is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. The risk for heart disease is higher when a high-sodium diet is accompanied by a low-potassium diet. (12) Potassium helps excrete sodium from your body and help to relax blood vessels.

Higher Risk of Osteoporosis

The more salt you eat, the more calcium your body loses through urination. And unfortunately, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, the body will take it from your bones, increasing the risk for bone problems, like osteoporosis. 

May Increase Your Risk for Stomach Cancer

There’s also evidence suggesting that a high-salt diet increases the risk for stomach cancer, according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Cancer Treatment and Research, and earlier research published in the British Journal of Cancer. 

Why You Might Crave Salt if You Eat a High-Salt Diet

Even if you know the importance of cutting back to reduce your sodium intake, this is easier said than done when you constantly crave a salty treat.

It might come as a shock, but salt is addictive. In fact, some studies have found that salt stimulates the brain in the same way that cigarettes and drugs do, such as one published in the journal Psychological Behavior.  So the more you eat salty foods, the more you may crave it. This can explain why it’s hard to just eat one chip.

Keep in mind that salt cravings can also be a sign of a medical problem. You could have an adrenal insufficiency caused by Addison’s disease, or a rare kidney problem called Bartter syndrome.  Consult your doctor if cravings persist or intensify.

Tips for Following a Low-Salt Diet

Here are a few tips to help you cut back and eat less salt: 

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip processed foods, like cured meats, canned goods, bagged items, and frozen foods, and spend more time in the produce aisle.

Read labels. Don’t purchase canned goods or processed items with more than 200 mg of sodium per serving. Bear in mind that a product labeled “no salt” may have other ingredients that contain sodium. 

Cook without salt. Experiment with herbs and spices for flavoring, such as oregano, garlic, thyme, chili powder, rosemary, and any other seasoning in your cupboard. Also avoid adding salt at the table.

Prepare your own food. Restaurant items contain higher amounts of sodium to keep the food fresh. Cook your own food to control the sodium. Before eating out, check a restaurant’s nutritional menu online to find low-sodium selections.

Be mindful of natural sources of sodium. Meat, dairy products, bread, and shellfish all contain sodium, so be sure to regulate your intake of these foods if you’re watching your salt intake.

Tips for Selecting and Storing Salt for the Best Taste

The right salt can bring out the flavor of a dish. But before you can choose the right one, you must understand the different types of salt: 

Sea Salt Because this salt has larger crystals, it’s an excellent choice to diversify the texture of your meals. Just be mindful that it contains just as much sodium as other types of salt.

Table Salt, or Common Salt This salt is easily identified by its small, fine grains. Because it dissolves quickly, it’s often used for seasoning meat and adding flavor to pasta water. This is the type of salt that is commonly iodized.

Kosher Salt With its large, flaky texture, kosher is preferred by professional cooks when seasoning steaks, pork chops, and other meat.

Himalayan Pink Salt A great selection for adding flavor to fish, poultry, and vegetables.

Red and Black Hawaiian Sea Salt Made with volcanic clay and activated charcoal, these salts are commonly used in Hawaiian cuisines.

Smoked Sea Salt Adds flavor to dry rubs and barbecue. It can also be sprinkled on popcorn, vegetables, salads, and sandwiches.

Fleur de Sel This delicate salt isn’t used for seasoning food while cooking but adds flavor to finished meals.

Flake Salt Use this salt when preparing blanched vegetables or salad.

Gray Salt This grayish colored salt is often used in French recipes.

Unseasoned Salt This doesn’t contain other herbs, spices, or flavoring, and has an infinite shelf life. But make sure you store it in a dry place like a cupboard. 

Too much moisture and humidity can make salt lumpy. Also, don’t store salt in a silver container. Chloride and silver don’t mix. A silver container can turn salt green. 

Smart Ways to Add Salt Into Your Home-Cooked Dishes

Here are a few helpful tips when cooking with salt: 

Salt vegetables before cooking to draw out the juices (as with caramelized onions) but after cooking for a firmer texture.

Saltwater takes longer to boil. Add salt to water after it starts boiling.

Some sauces contain a high amount of sodium. Don’t immediately add extra salt during cooking. Allow the sauce to simmer first. Taste the food after the dish finishes cooking, and then add extra salt if necessary. The saltiness of food can change as it cooks.

Salt food at a distance of about 10 to 12 inches so you’re able to see the amount you’re adding more clearly.

Some meats are naturally high in salt — such as seafood and pork. Use salt sparingly when preparing these items.

If you oversalt a liquid dish, add water to the dish and a quartered potato to reduce the saltiness.

અહીંથી વાંચો સંપુર્ણ ગુજરાતી માહિતી 

Healthy Food Choices When You’re Craving Salt 

In the mood for something salty? There’s nothing wrong with satisfying the occasional craving. Just make sure you choose snacks that are healthier or contain less salt, and limit the portion size of healthy foods that are higher in salt. For example: 

  • Popcorn with no salt or butter
  • Hummus and carrots (or another vegetable)
  • Edamame without added salt
  • Unsalted peanuts, cashews, or almonds
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Olives or pickles (just be mindful of the portion size, as these are salt-laden)
  • Vegetable chips
  • Kale chips

Rust and Stain Removal, Dental Care, Weed Killer, and Other Surprising Uses for Salt

Salt can add flavor to dishes and preserve food, but what else can it do? 

Remove rust. Apply a layer of salt and lemon juice to a rusty item. Scrub over the item and let it sit for about an hour. Rinse and dry. Repeat if necessary. 

Help extend the shelf life of milk. Add a pinch of salt to milk to keep it fresher longer. Keep in mind that this will also make the milk higher in sodium, so skip this tip if you’re watching your sodium level closely.

Deter ants. Sprinkle salt around window sills and doorways to prevent ants from coming into your house.

Clean your teeth. Combine one part fine salt with two parts baking soda for homemade toothpaste.

Kill grass and weeds. Sprinkle salt between openings or cracks on concrete or your patio to stop grass and weeds from growing.

Remove stains. Sprinkle salt on carpet to absorb red wine stains, and then clean carpet with soapy water. You can also use salt to remove stains from cups, and grease from pans or the oven. 

Exfoliate skin. Use a salt scrub to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells (face, feet, legs, etc). 

Help soothe a sore throat. Add a ¼ teaspoon to a ½ cup of warm water. Gargle the saltwater mixture to relieve a sore throat.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Salt

Salt is one of the most popular food additives, so it’s no surprise people have a lot of questions about. Here are some of the most common ones.

Q: What is the difference between sea salt and table salt?

A: Sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium. The primary difference is how the salt ends up on your dinner table. Sea salt comes from the ocean or saltwater lakes, and is harvested from evaporated water. Table salt, on the other hand, is usually mined and contains more additives, such as iodine. 

Q: Why is salt bad for you?

A: Salt isn’t bad in moderation. But too much can lead to excess fluid retention. This extra fluid can increase your blood pressure, causing damage to your heart, kidneys, arteries, and brain. 

Q: When is salt good for your health?

A: Not getting enough salt in your diet has been linked to elevated levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and it can increase the risk for low blood pressure and heart failure. Salt is also necessary to maintain the right fluid balance in the body. Most people get more than enough salt in their diet.

Q: Why you might have a salty taste in your mouth?

A: Possible causes of a salty taste in the mouth include a dry mouth, dehydration, acid reflux, medication, postnasal drip, and a nutritional deficiency. Drink more water to see if it helps the taste go away. Contact your doctor if you have a change in taste.

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