Provided by: www.theactivetimes.com and www.healthline.com
Salt: Good or Bad?
Health organizations have been warning us about the dangers of salt for a long time. That’s because high salt intake has been claimed to cause a number of health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. However, decades of research have failed to provide convincing evidence to support this. What’s more, many studies actually show that eating too little salt can be harmful.
Should You Eat Less Salt?
Some health conditions make it necessary to cut back on salt. If your doctor wants you to limit your intake, then definitely continue to do so. However, if you are a healthy person who eats mostly whole, single ingredient foods, then there is probably no need for you to worry about your salt intake. In this case, you can feel free to add salt during cooking or at the table in order to improve flavor.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a maximum intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and notes that 1,500 milligrams per day would be ideal for most adults. However, the AHA says on average, Americans consume over 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, with 70 percent of it coming from packaged foods.
Signs of Too Much Salt?
Puffiness – Your body likes to keep a balance of sodium and fluid in your bloodstream, but when there’s too much salt in your blood, the resulting fluid imbalance draws water out of your cells and into your bloodstream. This can cause swelling and fluid retention, which is most apparent in your fingers and other extremities.
Trouble Sleeping – A study in Endocrine Abstracts showed that adding more salt to your diet could result in later bedtimes, an inability to sleep through the night and more frequent nightmares.
Acne – A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that people who reported more frequent bouts of acne tended to eat high-sodium diets, whereas those with low-sodium diets had less acne. Acne is often linked to inflammation, as is excess sodium consumption — this link may play a role.
Bland Food – Eating too much salt can play games with your taste buds. What seemed flavorful and delicious before may become tasteless over time. When you eat salty foods, your taste buds adapt and need more salt to experience the same taste.
Lightheadedness – Research in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension showed that higher sodium intake was associated with more frequent and severe bouts of lightheadedness.
High Blood Pressure – Eating foods high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which, according to the American Heart Association, can be bad news for your heart. Over time, high blood pressure can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.
Headaches – The National Headache Foundation warns that those with diets high in sodium end up with more headaches.
Cognitive Problems – Cognitive function can be negatively impacted by too much salt. A study published in Nature reported that dietary sodium intake has been linked to an increased risk of dementia and cerebrovascular diseases.
Can Low Salt Intake Can Be Harmful?
There is some evidence suggesting that a low-salt diet can be downright harmful. The negative health effects include:
-Salt restriction has been linked to elevated LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.
-Several studies report that less than 3,000 mg of sodium per day is linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
-One analysis found that restricting salt intake increased the risk of dying for people with heart failure. The effect was staggering, with a 160% higher risk of death in individuals who reduced their salt intake.
-Some studies have reported that a low-salt diet may increase insulin resistance.
-One study found that in type 2 diabetes patients, less sodium was associated with an increased risk of death.