Many people eat quite salty because it is a habit or taste that suits them. Therefore, they add excess salt in the daily menu and cannot control this. However, eating a lot of salt, whether in the short or long term, has negative effects on health.
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride which is the most common seasoning when cooking. Sodium is an essential mineral for muscle and nerve function, while chloride helps the body maintain the right balance of water and minerals.
While adding salt may offer some health benefits, eating too much salt on a regular basis has many negative effects, including short-term symptoms and long-term complications. Here are the health effects of eating too much salt.
Short-term effects of high salt intake
Eating more salt than needed at one time, like one meal, or throughout the day can cause many short-term symptoms.
1. Body stores water
At first, you will feel more bloated than usual. This is because the kidneys maintain the water-sodium ratio in the body. So, when you add more sodium, your body will retain a corresponding amount of water.
Water retention can lead to swelling, especially in the hands and feet, making you heavier than usual.
A high-salt meal can cause more blood to flow through blood vessels and major arteries, leading to a temporary increase in blood pressure. However, people who are resistant to salt absorption may not experience this condition.
Salt sensitivity is influenced by factors such as hormones, genetics, aging or obesity. Therefore, eating a lot of salt doesn’t automatically raise everyone’s blood pressure.
Regularly eating salty foods will increase your blood pressure
3. Or feel thirsty
Eating salty and thirsty is an inevitable consequence. A diet high in salt will make you dry mouth or feel thirsty all the time. This is a sign that your body wants you to add more water to rebalance the amount of sodium consumed.
When drinking more water, the frequency of going to the toilet will also increase. Besides, if you do not drink more water after eating salty, the amount of sodium in the body is higher than the safe level, you will have hypernatremia. This condition can cause water to escape from the cells and into the bloodstream, causing symptoms such as confusion, seizures, lethargy, restlessness, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping, and in severe cases, death. .
Long-term effects of eating a lot of salt
Eating a lot of salt continuously for a long time will leave more serious effects on health.
1. Having high blood pressure
Similar to the short-term effects, a high-salt diet in the long-term will cause blood pressure to rise significantly, conversely, limiting salt intake can help you reduce blood pressure more effectively. People who often have high blood pressure will reduce more than 2 times compared to people with normal blood pressure when applying a salt-reduced diet.
These effects also vary in magnitude depending on the individual’s physical condition, salt sensitivity, obesity or aging.
2. Increased risk of stomach cancer
Eating a lot of salt can affect the stomach in the long run
Eating a lot of salt will easily make you have stomach ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining. Several studies with nearly 300,000 participants showed that, on average, eating 3g of salt per day can increase the risk of stomach cancer by 68% compared to people who eat only 1g of salt.
How much salt is enough for the body?
One of the long-term effects of eating a lot of salt is an increased risk of heart disease or early death. However, these harmful effects have not been fully confirmed, and deaths from eating too much salt are rare because you need to eat about 35-70g of salt per day to cause these effects.
People with health problems such as heart failure, liver and kidney disease can easily die if they regularly consume more than 10g of sodium per day, equivalent to 25g of salt.
Health authorities generally recommend that people limit their sodium intake to 1,500-2,300mg/day, equivalent to 3.8-5.8g/day or 2/3-1 teaspoon.
Seasoning with salt in a moderate amount will help you ensure better health
What to do when you eat a lot of salt?
Drink water: If you accidentally consume more salt than necessary, you should add more water to balance the ratio of water and sodium safely.
Eat foods rich in potassium: In addition, eating foods rich in potassium such as milk, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and nuts can support fluid balance in the body. A high-potassium diet can limit some of the effects of eating too much salt, and a low-potassium diet can sometimes increase your body’s sensitivity to salt.
Finally, you should try to reduce the amount of salt you consume in your meals. In addition to paying attention to the menu and reducing seasoning when seasoning, you need to note that 70-80% of the salt that the body absorbs usually comes from processed foods. So, choosing fresh, low-salt foods is the best way to reduce unnecessary sodium content.
Although salt can help you add sodium, eating too much salt will make health effects more serious. Pay attention to your daily diet to reduce the amount of salt consumed in excess of safe levels.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.