Everybody knows too much sugar can be bad for you, but not many know of the impact of too much salt on your health. Having a salty bag of chips every once in a while is all right, but too much daily sodium intake can be unhealthy and lead to many health problems.
Even if you haven’t been adding extra salt seasoning to your meals, here is the deal: you can still consume a lot of salt without meaning to. Restaurants and packaged foods are notorious for their high amounts of salt. Consequently, you could easily take more than is recommended if you frequently include them in your diet.
Salt contains forty percent of sodium, and excessive sodium consumption can be detrimental to your long-term health. Suppose too much sodium remains a regular part of your life. In that case, it could lead to frequent high blood pressure, stomach cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease. If you notice symptoms associated with any of the mentioned health problems, seek medical attention immediately. Don’t try to ride out your symptoms until your condition visibly worsens. Postponing much-needed treatment can make it difficult to recover once it is too late.
If you wish to improve your overall health, consult a nurse for ways to remain healthy. Qualified through accredited nurse practitioner programs, nurses are knowledgeable about many health-promoting activities, including healthy eating. Ask a nurse if you are taking more than the recommended daily amount of salt (1500 milligrams). A nurse in your local healthcare center will guide you on limiting your sodium consumption.
To help you in your quest for being healthy, we have listed some signs you are eating too much salt and need to cut down on it.
1. Swelling and Puffiness
If you have been feeling swollen and puffy as of late, it might be because you are taking too much sodium. Too much salt causes the body to retain water, and the build-up of fluids may make you feel bloated in different body parts. Your body needs to maintain a specific balance between sodium and water. Therefore, when the sodium in your body grows excessively, it retains more fluids to compensate for it.
If you have been taking too much salt, you may notice swelling under-eyes hands and feet and feel bloated around your abdomen. The swelling and puffiness may cause you to weigh more than you do.
2. Frequent urination
It may be because of high sodium consumption if you find yourself heading to the toilet with increasing frequency. With the increase in water retention, salt affects the level of fluids in your body and also makes you feel thirstier. As a result, you may feel the urge to drink more water and urinate more often than usual as your body works to rid itself of excess salt.
However, aside from sodium intake, frequent urination can be caused by many underlying health problems. For instance, frequent urination is often associated with conditions like diabetes, overactive bladder syndrome, or prostate problems. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor and get tested as soon as possible.
3. Persistent Thirst
Do you keep drinking water to satisfy your thirst but still feel thirsty after every gulp of water? If so, it may be because of your sodium intake. Too much salt can make you crave more liquids than usual. Too much salt impacts the levels of fluids in your body and may leave you feeling dehydrated. If your mouth and lips continue to feel dry, it is because your body is giving you a signal that it needs more water to maintain the fluid balance.
However, persistent thirst is not only a symptom of high sodium intake: it could also indicate an underlying problem such as diabetes.
If you have mild headaches, too much sodium might be the culprit. Because salt messes with your body’s fluid levels, your headache may be a result of dehydration. When your body loses too much water, the brain feels the loss of it- leaving it pounding.
The combination of thirst and headaches may be because of excess salt. Drinking more and more water to flush out the salt may be the best way to combat headaches. However, suppose you only feel a headache without any other symptoms of excessive salt consumption. In that case, it may be due to something else. There are many causes of headaches, ranging from stress and exhaustion to more critical conditions such as a brain aneurysm or stroke. If your headache persists without apparent reason, seek a healthcare provider immediately.
5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the most critical sign of high salt consumption. Since sodium is mainly in the blood, high sodium leads to high water in the bloodstream. The excess of water increases the volume of blood flowing through your blood vessels and arteries, causing blood pressure to rise.
However, high blood pressure can be caused by many things other than salt intake, including smoking, obesity, and genetics. Try to measure your blood pressure every day, and if you find your blood pressure increasing frequently, go to a doctor right away.
6. You are craving salt
The more you consume salt, the more you may crave it. Your taste buds adapt to the flavors you regularly have, which is why you begin wanting more of them. Suppose you find yourself craving more salty chips, salty potatoes, and salty anything. In that case, it is time to sit back and tell yourself to reduce sodium consumption. If you stop taking salt all at once, you may feel the loss of it more poignantly. It is best to take your salt intake down gradually.
7. Sleep disturbances
You may find the quality of your sleep has reduced if you have been taking too much salt. The combined symptoms of excessive salt intake cause disturbances in sleep. Mild headaches, increased blood pressure, and the urge to urinate throughout the night may make it hard for you to sleep, leaving you tired even after you wake up.
8. Digestive Problems
Dehydration through salt intake may leave you with diarrhea, nausea, or stomach cramps. If your stomach has been bothering you, it may be a sign to cut back on salt. Drinking lots of water can rehydrate your cells and smooth your stomach problems.
If you notice any signs of high sodium consumption, try flushing out the sodium from your body by drinking lots of water. Additionally, work on improving your diet. Improving and maintaining a healthy diet will require a conscious effort. Reaching for packaged foods when grocery shopping may seem natural, but it may not be worth it. Start reading labels of packaged foods and only buy those with low sodium content. When eating out in restaurants, try asking for dishes with low salt, spices, and seasonings. Cutting back on salt consumption will require effort, but it will pay off in the end.