6 Signs That You Are Consuming Too Much Salt
Have you noticed that your eyes are puffy and your rings are harder to take off your fingers lately? Or have you been told by your doctor that you have high blood pressure? These symptoms could be signs that you’re consuming too much salt in your daily diet.
Read on to find out the various ways in which excess sodium can affect your body and what you can do to reduce your salt intake.
Symptoms that you’re consuming excessive salt
You Have High Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association recommends a daily consumption of only 1,500 milligrams of sodium, or 1.5 grams, to maintain a healthy heart. However, many people consume more than this recommended amount, which can lead to high blood pressure and water retention in the body. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor may advise you to adopt a low-salt diet.
You may add more herbs and spices, as well as lemon juice or vinegar in your diet to add flavor to your foods, when you reduce salt consumption.
You Notice Edema or Swellings in Your Body
Edema is a medical condition in which fluid accumulates in the intercellular spaces of organs and tissues, leading to swelling. This could be a sign that your diet is too high in salt. You may notice that your feet and ankles get swollen. Edema can also cause your fingers to become bloated and your wedding ring to become tight.
You Feel Thirsty Often
If you notice that your mouth is becoming increasingly dry and you constantly feel a strong urge to drink water, there is a good likelihood that this thirst is caused by too much salt in your diet Excessive salt draws water out of the cells, sending signals that activate the brain regions in charge of producing the sense of thirst. Be aware that excessive thirst can also be a symptom of diabetes!
You Crave Salty Foods
If you find yourself craving all kinds of salty snacks like potato chips, salted peanuts, and olives, then that may be a sign that you’re already eating too much salt. As a matter of fact, you will enjoy the taste of the food on your plate more if you reduce the salt intake to the limits considered normal. You may find it difficult in the first days when you reduce salt intake, but your taste buds will soon get used to the new state of affairs.
You Have Frequent Headaches
If you suffer from mild but frequent headaches and have no idea what might be causing them, you might try reducing your salt intake first. Too much salt in your daily diet can lead to symptoms such as headache, which is induced by dehydration.
Sometimes You Can’t Think Straight
Dehydration from eating too much salt can cause a number of issues, including the so-called “brain fog” and a mild sense of bewilderment. This disorientation may be a symptom of various health issues in addition to being a warning that you consume too much salt, just like the other symptoms on the list.
How to use less salt in food?
So, what can you do to reduce the amount of salt in your diet? The following tips can help:
- Eat as many unprocessed or minimally processed foods as possible. Canned and ultra -processed foods (convenience stores, instant soups, processed cheese, sausages, etc.) often contain a lot of added salt.
- Read the labels of commercial food products and choose ones with low sodium content. When shopping for processed foods, choose products with sodium content less than or equal to the recommended content per serving.
- Watch out for hidden salt. Some of the foods that are high in sodium may be products that you wouldn’t think are high in salt, such as commercial white bread, processed cheese, instant soup mix or ketchup.
- Be mindful of the salt content when dining out. Each serving of some fast food or even restaurant entrees may have more than 5,000 milligrams of sodium, or roughly four times the daily recommended intake. If you want to further minimize your salt intake, ask for foods that are simple or have the potential to contain less salt, such as a steak with grilled vegetables or a salad of raw vegetables with a boiled egg and vegetable soup.
- Use your sodium “budget” wisely. Instead of spending all of your daily recommended amount of salt on salty snacks and highly processed foods, such as crisps, salami or crackers, use small amounts of salt to enhance the flavor of healthier foods, such as peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or legumes.
- Train your taste buds by gradually reducing your salt intake and being patient with yourself.
In conclusion, consuming too much salt can lead to various health problems, including high blood pressure, edemas, thirst, cravings, headaches, and brain fog. By adopting a healthier diet and reducing your salt intake, you can improve your overall health and well-being. For more details, check this article about effect of excessive consumption of salt on your health.