A food ingredient, as basic as salt, can lead to a whole host of health problems, if consumed in excess.
1. Increases Blood Pressure
The kidneys are responsible for eradicating unwanted fluids from the body. The process is carried out by the balance of sodium and potassium that pulls the excess water from the walls of cells and helps in the process of eliminating toxic wastes. But a high amount of sodium in the blood damages the balance, by making your body hold on to water, which in turn affects the ability of the kidney to remove water from the body, and it leads to an increase in blood volume. An increased blood volume puts pressure on the arteries which results in an increase in blood pressure. The extra blood can lead to the arteries bursting or becoming clogged, which can ultimately cause heart attacks.
Excessive consumption of salt leads to excessive thirst, and in order to quench that thirst, we often end up drinking sugary fluids and sweetened beverages, rather than water, that leads to weight gain. According to studies, for every extra gramme, the risk of developing obesity increases by 25 percent. Additionally, when our body is high on salt, it starts retaining fluids which also leads to rapid weight gain.
3. Fluid retention
Consumption of excessive salt can cause fluid retention in the body. That means your body starts retaining fluids instead of letting it pass away through urine. Fluid retention can cause Edema – a condition characterised by bloating of the abdomen, and swelling, which is often accompanied by pain in the feet, ankles, arms, hands, legs, and other body parts as well. There are hosts of other reasons for developing edema, but excessive salt intake is one of the most major ones. Fluid retention also makes our weight shoot up, which subsequently gives rise to a whole different bunch of health problems.
It is a condition characterised by a high level of sodium in the blood. In this case, the body contains too little water for the amount of sodium. We all know that an excessive intake of salt makes us thirsty, but if we do not consume that water to quench off our thirst, it leads to dehydration. Hypernatremia also affects our mental health as it leads to confusion or bleeding in or around the brain. Loss of appetite, muscle twitching, weakness, and nausea are some of the symptoms of Hypernatremia. While there are hosts of other reasons of having Hypernatremia, consumption of excessive salt is one of them.
5. Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones
Cut down on the excessive consumption of salt to keep osteoporosis at bay. A high amount of salt intake leads to loss of calcium from our body through urine, along with the sodium, which makes our bones susceptible to osteoporosis. Another reason for our body’s calcium levels depleting is due to high blood pressure, which is again triggered by high salt intake. In addition to this, the excessive amount of calcium in the urine gives rise to kidney stones. Urinary calcium, which is the major constituent of kidney stones, is increased by a high salt diet that increases the risk of formation of renal or kidney stones.
6. Stomach Cancer
Foods preserved with salt put us at a greater risk of developing stomach cancer, as salt damages the lining of the stomach and causes lesions, which, if left unattended, develop into cancer. Another strong link between stomach cancer and high intake of salt is bacterium Helicobacter Pylori, which causes inflammation and gastric ulcers, which eventually take the form of cancer. Studies have shown that salt leads to the growth and increased activity of the Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria and makes us susceptible to cancer.