10 signs you’re consuming too much salt

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10 signs you're consuming too much salt

When you are taking too much salt in your diet and you do not compensate with an increase in water intake, the body sends you red flags. Learn to recognize them.

10 signs you're consuming too much salt

In order for the body to function and stay healthy, it needs a certain amount of salt. Sodium chloride regulates the body’s water balance and tissue tension and is essential for the excitability of muscles and nerves. It also participates in digestion and bone structure. But in excess it becomes a cause of problems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 5 g of salt per day. But many of us eat much more than we need. The salt that we add in cooking and dressing is an important part of the intake, but we also take other amounts that go unnoticed through ultra-processed foods.

Foods with the most added salt are aged cheeses, pickles and other preserves, ready meals, and charcuterie. At the end of the day, on average, Spaniards consume an average of 10 g of salt, double the recommended amount.

WE TAKE TOO MUCH SALT

If the body receives too much salt, the excess is excreted through the kidneys. The body also loses water in the process, which makes us thirsty. In the long term, if excess salt is maintained, the kidneys become overworked.

If you don’t drink enough, excess sodium causes a constriction of the blood vessels that increases blood pressure. That is why one of the advice given to hypertensive people is to reduce their salt intake.

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If you eat too much salt, it can be toxic. Sodium draws water out of cells, which is physiological stress. If the water balance is not restored, diarrhea and vomiting occur. In severe cases, a lack of water can lead to heart and respiratory disorders or even death.

10 PHYSICAL SIGNS YOU’RE TAKING IN TOO MUCH SALT

1. CONSTANT THIRST

If you have eaten salty foods, your body will ask for water more often. It is essential to meet this need because the body needs it for the balance of minerals on the outside and inside of cells. Likewise, excessive thirst can also be a sign of type 1 diabetes.

2. SWELLING OF THE FACE

When you wake up in the morning, you may find that the area around your eyes and cheeks is inflamed. Higher salt intake the day before may be the reason for this. Excess salt causes fluid to be trapped between cells and tissues literally swell.

3. THE SCALE SHOWS MORE WEIGHT

It is not always an excess of calories that makes you gain weight. Salt retains fluid and this is heavy, but don’t panic, a day with little salt and a lot of water (yes, although it seems brown, because it is precisely about diluting sodium) will help eliminate excessive water retention.

4. FOOD TASTES BLAND.

Eating processed foods and prepared foods too often can dull our perception of salty taste. People who suffer from this often say that they find vegetables very bland. It is important to consciously reduce the amount of salt added. Since the taste buds on the tongue are regularly renewed, they can get used to low-salt foods.

5. CONSTANT HEADACHE

Headaches can be caused by excessive salt intake. The typical signs are pricks and pressure in the area of ​​the temples, since the salt causes the blood vessels of the brain to dilate. In case of having this type of headache it is important that you drink a lot of water.

6. KIDNEY STONES

If the concentration of salt in the urine increases and the kidneys are not flushed out with enough water, crystals can form. The salts are deposited on top of each other in layers, so that kidney stones develop over time. Stones can be very painful.

It is important that you drink 1.5 to 2 liters a day, more if you exercise a lot or it is hot. This cleanses the kidneys and prevents waste from building up. If small kidney stones have already formed, it also helps to drink a lot and move to excrete them.

7. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

An optimal blood pressure is 120/80. However, too much salt can lead to long-term high blood pressure, as the vessels contract and harden, which means that the heart has to pump faster and with more pressure.

If you already have high blood pressure, you should carefully monitor your salt intake and have regular check-ups.

8. YOU ARE SICK MORE OFTEN

In one experiment, researchers divided mice into two groups and fed them low-salt foods and others high-salt foods for a week. The mice were then infected with Listeria and E. coli bacteria, which can be found in our food. Mice that were fed a low-salt diet had more immune cells than mice fed a high-salt diet. In the group fed a high-salt diet, the infections also lasted significantly longer.

9. SLEEP DISORDERS

Eating foods that are too salty can lead to sleep disorders such as restless sleep, frequent awakenings, and restlessness in the morning upon waking. The most restless sleep occurs when a lot of salt is consumed at night, since the high sodium content leads to an increase in blood pressure and fluid retention.

10. WATER AND ELECTROLYTE DISORDER

Hypernatremia means that you have too much salt in your blood. This upsets your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance. A doctor can determine this with a blood count. If there is a strong excess of salt, edema can occur, it is the accumulation of water in certain places of the body tissue. In severe cases, it can even lead to unconsciousness or an epileptic seizure.

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