Is adding salt to your food harmful? The truth about health risks associated with salt intake

Most times, doctors and health experts suggest less salt intake in order to reduce our sodium intake because honestly, we get too much effortlessly.

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But then, while it’s adviced to keep the rate of your salt intake in check, you shouldn’t avoid it in your meals as this mineral plays an important role in how your body functions.

These are some of the reasons why you need salt in your body:

1. Salt 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.

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.

2. Salt 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.

3. Salt 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.

So what are the health risks associated with too much salt intake?

1. Increased Water Retention

If your salt intake is high, 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.

2. Higher Risk of Osteoporosis

The more your salt intake, the more calcium your body loses through urination. Now the bad news is, if you don’t have enough salt calcium in your diet, your body will take it from your bones, which will increase the risk of bone problems like osteoporosis.

3. Higher Risk of 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

Some of your questions about salt intake and the answers:

Q: Do we even need salt in our diet?
A: We have to intake a level of salt on a regular basis. Mainly because our bodies need sodium. Salt is more important for those living in hotter countries where we sweat more.

Q: What happens when you eat too much?
A: Not a lot, for most people. For most younger people, a high in salt diet won’t make much of a difference.

Q: How much salt should we be eating?
A: Around 6g a day. This sounds like quite a lot, but it isn’t, actually.


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