Can't resist the bag of salted
chips? Here are reasons you should, and ways you can make it easier to lower
your salt consumption. Read on...
Salt is one of the basic
component and nutritional necessity of the body
. A deficiency of this
important substance (though rarely found) can be dangerous, and can create
electrolyte imbalance which can lead to many other health problems. It is for
this very reason that dehydrated people are advised to replenish their salt
reserves by taking electrolyte solutions.
But does the 'add salt to
theory really applicable to us in our daily lives? Processed and
packaged foods are loaded with exorbitantly high levels of sodium, which can be
terribly hazardous to health. This practice adopted every day can cause
permanent damage to health, and is exceptionally harmful for patients suffering
from heart diseases.
Reasons to 'add' the salt:
For starters, salt gives you the daily requirement
of sodium, which is essential for the metabolic activities of your body and its
proper functioning. The healthy functioning of the muscular and nervous system
is largely dependent on the sodium levels of the body.
Furthermore, sodium forms a good
portion of our blood, which ultimately links sodium intake to circulatory
Another reason to add salt to
your meals is that a certain amount of salt is required by the body to maintain
optimum blood pressure. Salts are also concerned with the endocrine and
hormonal system, ensuring that they function properly.
Moreover, the salt that we
consume everyday is iodized, meaning it gives us our daily requirement of
iodine too. A deficiency in iodine can result in goiter and other complications
in the body.
Reasons to 'skip' it:
Patients suffering from high blood pressure
are often advised to go easy on the salt, and it's for a good reason. Excess
consumption of salt cannot just cause fluid imbalances, but also lead to many
other dangerous and life-threatening conditions. High salt consumption over a
period of time has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer and
permanent kidney damage.
Excessive salt consumption can
also cause negative impacts on cardiovascular health. Water retention and
swelling are also observed in people having a habit of adding more and more
salt to their diets.
Swip and swap:
Now that the good and the bad have been listed, it's
time to turn to list down ways to cut down that excess salt in your diet,
without compromising on the taste.
Firstly, it is important to note
the maximum intake of salt per day, beyond which, health problems can occur.
The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 1500mg of sodium intake
If you are one of those who make
it through the day with a burger or a Frankie from the roadside stall and a bag
of chips, chances are, your sodium intake is way above normal.
Look for sodium content in the
labels whenever you buy packaged products. Cheese and butter have enormous
amounts of sodium.
Next, look for substitutes to
satisfy your taste buds-squeeze a bit of lemon or a pinch of paprika over your
lunch, instead of using the shaker. Salt substitutes can be an option for those
suffering from high blood pressure.
One of the best ways to cut down your intake of sodium is
to cook with no salt. Once your meal is prepared, just sprinkle a bit of salt
on the top right before serving. That way, you'll feel the taste, but will be
taking in a much lesser amount of sodium.
Substitute table salt for sea salt
- it is thought to be a much healthier option than the