Salt in our diets and is salt bad for diabetics?
Salt is like sugar as our bodies need both. But we do not need excess amounts because they wreak havoc inside your body. The average amount that should be consumed is six grams per day. The average person consumes more than eight grams per day. Why is salt bad for you? Excess salt can be responsible for heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. Not to mention many other problems that salt can be linked to such as: kidney stones, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, vascular issues, obesity, and kidney disease.
But why is salt important for your body?
Since your body cannot manufacture chloride and sodium ions, then you must get them from salt and they have important functions for your body. I’m not saying eliminate all salt, because you can’t. Skip the salt as far as adding it to your foods, especially ones that already contain salt.
Sodium helps in making use of nutrients into the cells. In addition it controls the capacities of fluids in your body. Sodium levels also affect the pH acid levels of your blood. Sodium is a benefactor in the contraction of the muscles and transferring nerve signals in the body as well.
The chloride ions play similar important roles as well as sodium. They too affect pH levels and transfer fluids. But chloride plays a major role in digestion too. So our bodies need salt but like with anything else that we put into our bodies, it must be in moderation. I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to know your lab numbers and stay up to date with them. They are telling you what’s going on inside your body.
Why is excess salt not good for you? Here’s why:
- Coronary heart disease. You know this is all about the condition of your heart. Coronary heart disease is the number one killer. If you can reduce the risk of developing it by cutting down on salt, would you? Of course you would. Do you want to reduce the blood supply to your heart because of salt, or anything else in excess that can cause this? Come on. This really isn’t something anyone should have to think about.
- Obesity. How many of us are this boat? How healthy is it to be overweight? No one person can ever give you a reason for being obese as being healthy. Do you think salt itself helps you gain weight? Because of excessive thirst that results from too much salt, you will be drinking more and if they are sugary drinks, then there’s your weight gain. Sugar pumps you up with energy and then crashes you down. Sugar and salt are a deadly combination when you stock pile them inside of your body. Weight gain, it’s just not good. Maybe it’s time to respect your body and care about what you put into it? I know that it’s easier said than done but it’s reality.
- High blood pressure. This is the big one, without a doubt. A diet high in salt raises your blood pressure so much and it won’t take that long. I don’t have to tell you how unhealthy it is to have high blood pressure. Salt is probably the biggest factor in hypertension. It can lead to heart disease and strokes too. You wouldn’t even know if your pressure is elevated most of the time. Have it checked frequently. In fact, be smart and get yourself a blood pressure monitor kit and check it yourself at home and when you travel.
- Diabetes. Raising your blood pressure increases your risk of diabetes. Salt raises your blood pressure so that is the reason here why your diabetes risks increases. If you have diabetes, then you can help yourself by consuming less salt and keeping your blood pressure at bay.
- Stroke. Again, excess salt intake increases blood pressure and that leads to a stroke. Salt is the enemy and we must stop it from causing things that are preventable. You don’t want your blood vessels to become obstructed and high blood pressure is the number one reason for that! And salt is the number one cause of hypertension. Cut out the salt, ea healthy foods and move your butt and get to exercising!
- Kidney disease and kidney stones. You do NOT want either of these conditions. Stones come from a buildup of too much calcium and hypertension and excess salt contribute to too much calcium that has to be excreted by your kidneys into your urine and this cause kidney stones and they are very painful to say the least. There’s also a possibility of developing kidney disease too. The bottom line here is that to prevent issues with your kidneys you must avoid salt. It’s not worth the price of having these issues with your kidneys.
- Retaining water. Consuming too much salt results in retaining water. In order to have a positive result from bloating or edema (in women) and in addition people who have cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure, these “patients” will definitely experience benefits from reducing their salt intake.
- Stomach ulcers and cancers. Excess salt affects the lining of the stomach that can cause ulcers and cancers. Women are not at as much of a risk as opposed to men. Salt results in inflammation of the stomach and that makes you more susceptible to stomach caner and stomach ulcers. Cut down on the salt, especially if you’re the type that likes to grab that salt shaker and go to town with it.
The warning signs of too much salt
- Does food start tasting kind of dull and tasteless? When you’re used to eating foods with too much salt, then your taste buds are crying out for it. You get to the point when not adding salt affects your tastes. There are other ways to cut back on the salt overload without affecting the taste so much. Change up and substitute salt with spices and herbs such as onion, garlic, rosemary, cumin, thyme, black pepper and paprika. Once your taste buds get used to this and give you the thumbs up, then salt is out of the picture and you start to improve.
- Your mouth feels like the Sahara desert. You know what this feels like if you have diabetes and are constantly dry and thirsty. You know that you should be drinking the right amount of water everyday and despite this you could still have a thirst that is hard to quench. But eating too much salt will lead you to satisfy your thirst even more than it normally would. Your body wants to flush out the excess salt and requires more drinking. It’s a never ending cycle.
- Puffiness under the eyes. You could be susceptible to puffiness under your eyes. Bags under the eyes can be a sign of many different things, too much salt being one of them. Talk to your doctor about it.
- Swelling. Swollen ankles are another thing to watch out for. Any kind of swelling could be an indicator of too much salt causing havoc. You don’t want to assume anything here, even the fact that it could be ankle odema. (swelling) Don’t ignore this and anytime you are unsure of something, call your physician immediately. Don’t wait. Are your rings tighter than normal? Just another possible indicator or swelling from salt intake.
- Processed foods. If you’re eating processed foods, it’s a certainty that you’re consuming too much salt. Processed foods are loaded with salt. Salt is added to make them taste better and to extend the storage life. Here is a fact for you: Processed foods are responsible for more than seventy percent of salt consumption in the average person. Replace these right now with fresh whole foods.
- Have your labs done. You need blood work done regularly to know what’s going on in your body. As I mentioned previously, high blood pressure is dangerous, so you need to know what your pressure is at any given time. Salt raises your blood pressure. This does not mean cutting out all salt. Your body does need salt. Like anything else, too much is unhealthy.
Remedies for too much salt
- Exchange the salt for seasonings, herbs, and spices. Do check what’s in the mixed seasonings as well. Some do contain a bit too much sodium.
- Read food labels for ingredients. This is important to understand because you should know what these terms mean: low sodium is less than 140 mgs of sodium, light in sodium translates to sodium being decreased by a minimum of fifty percent, sodium free is less than five mgs of sodium.
- Cheese consumption should be reduced. Yes, I love cheese too! But at five hundred mgs of sodium for american cheese, I’ll cut back. The other cheeses are even more.
- Go for the potassium. Let’s raise the potassium levels as we are lowering the sodium levels. Just to list a few that will give you potassium: squash, avocado, salmon, yogurt, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Do not add salt when you’re cooking. Don’t do this,okay?
- Water, period. The more water you drink, the more you dilute the amounts of sodium inside your body. The more you drink, coupled with exercise, the better off you will be in relation to sodium in your body.
- E-x-e-r-c-i-s-e. Like I really have to tell you that exercise is helpful for your body and sodium levels? Okay, I won’t tell you. 🙂
- Eat a healthy diet. Another I have to tell you this? You need to cut way back on salt. You will see and feel the difference.
And now do you know what you must do?
There isn’t much more than I can say except, well, you know. CUT down the salt. You know what it can and will do to you and how it will compromise your body and your health. Don’t feel that you’re suffering by cutting down on something that is only meant to be taken in small amounts. You should keep a check on your blood pressure!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. I would appreciate it very much! Thank you for allowing me to try and help you. I hope I did. Have a happy and healthy!