Please, don’t pass the salt!

Are you eating too much salt?

Adults should consume a maximum of 5g of salt per a day. Although staying within the limit may seem very easy, it really is not. If you think that hiding away the salt shaker during meal times will not keep you safe from the dangerous effects of salt, you are terribly mistaken.

Most of our salt intake- about 60%- is hidden in products that hardly taste salty. Because we are unaware of how much salt we are actuallyconsuming, we end up consuming a lot more that our recommended daily allowance.

What health issues can too much salt cause?

Dehydration

If you consume too much salt without drinking enough water, your body will resort to pulling water from within your internal cells to function. If you are dehydrated, you may experience the following symptoms: dizziness, stomach cramps, excessive thirst, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Obesity

Salt alone cannot make you gain extra body fat, however, it can cause you to become thirsty. If you drink too many sugary drinks to alleviate the excessive thirst, you will put on body weight.

Water weight

Too much salt causes your kidneys to release less water into your urine. This causes various parts of your body to retain fluid. Too much salt can cause your body to store up to 1.5 litres of extracellular fluid.

High blood pressure

Fluid retention, as a result of a high salt intake, can cause your blood pressure to rise. This adds to artery, kidney, heart and brain issues. Salt is definitely one of the biggest hypertension contributing factors among South Africans.

Kidney stones

Excess salt can cause too much calcium to be discharged from your kidneys into your urine. The build-up of calcium causes kidney stones. This is an extremely painful problem which requires medical attention if it becomes very serious.

Diabetes

Too much salt causes high blood pressure, which contributes the risk of developing diabetes. People who already have diabetes should eat less salt to keep their blood pressure at a healthy level and to reduce other health issues associated with diabetes.

Which foods contain the most camouflaged salt?

  • Bread
  • Gravy
  • Cheese
  • Pickles
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Pizza
  • Corn snacks
  • Olives
  • Potato chips
  • Marmite
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Cereals
  • Tin foods
  • Soft drinks

Find out more on Meditalk.

Should you totally cut out salt?

No! Whatever you do, do not completely eliminate salt from your diet. Salt, in moderation, contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Look at food labels before purchasing foods to make sure that they are not too high in sodium.

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