When a person consumes too much salt, the body reacts by showing several signs to clue you in about your unhealthy habit.
Here’s how too much salt affects health
What Happens If You Eat Too Much Salt? – Too much sodium symptoms
The body needs the electrolytes sodium, chloride and potassium to maintain water, electrolyte and acid-base balance and tissue tone.
Sodium and potassium play a crucial role in the function of nerves and muscles: they enable the build-up of electrical voltage at cell membranes and thus the transmission of nerve impulses – important for muscle contractions, heart function and the regulation of blood pressure.
Sodium is also involved in active cell transport. Chloride is a component of gastric acid.
As a so-called cofactor of enzymes, potassium plays an important role in the production of proteins and glycogen.
The body also needs salt for fluid balance, digestion and bone formation.
But, the truth is that most people eat too much salt
For example, in Germany, the average consumption of table salt (sodium chloride) through the diet is ten grams. This is far above the German Society for Nutrition’s recommendation of six grams daily.
In the USA experts advise even to only five grams of common salt on the day.
1- Eating too much salt can cause stubborn headaches
Are you getting frequent headaches out of the blue despite being healthy and not being under a lot of stress?
If so, then your body may want to warn you about something.
Excess salt in diet could be the cause of your frequent headaches.
Too much salt can result in dehydration-induced headache symptoms.
It can also cause the blood vessels in the brain to expand, resulting in painful headaches.
Be sure to fill up your body with at least five fruits and veggies a day.
¿Potassium-rich diet can lower blood pressure?
The salts sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride have opposite effects on blood pressure. While sodium chloride increases blood pressure, a diet rich in potassium can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke in people with hypertension. However, increased potassium intake is not suitable for people with severe kidney disease. Vegetables and fruits are generally rich in potassium and at the same time low in sodium, whether fresh or frozen. pricots, bananas, carrots, kohlrabi and tomatoes contain particularly high levels of potassium. Potatoes, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds and peanuts also contain a lot of potassium. Flours rich in potassium are spelt, rye and buckwheat wholemeal flour. Dark chocolate is also high in potassium.
2- Too much salt can cause excessive thirst
Do you find yourself wanting to drink more water than usual?
If yes, then it could be due to excessive salt consumption on your end.
If the body gets too much salt, the excess is excreted via the kidneys. In the process, however, the body also loses water, which makes itself felt with thirst.
In the long term, increased salt consumption can put a strain on the kidneys. If too little is drunk in addition, this can lead to vasoconstriction, which in turn leads to high blood pressure.
Eating salty food can compromise the fluid in your body.
As a result, your body reacts by signaling that it needs more water to balance things out, making you feel thirsty.
So, if you’re into salty food, make sure to drink lots of water.
It is clear that the permanent consumption of too much salt can damage the body
3- Can too much salt cause leg cramps?
The body needs every mineral in the right balance to ensure smooth functioning.
If you notice that you’re experiencing more leg cramps and rigid muscles than normal, then one of the main reasons could be excess consumption of salt.
Minerals like potassium aids in relaxing the muscles while sodium is tasked for muscle contraction.
Simply put, maintaining the right balance of these minerals is important.
The effect of salt on the body still poses many questions for researchers. In a recent study, it was shown that too much salt permanently disrupts the mitochondria, the power plants of human cells. The sodium ion that enters the immune cells leads to a lack of energy and alters the cells. The result is overactivation. This can be a positive reaction for fighting bacteria, but may also mean an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
4- High blood pressure
Many people are aware that too much sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure.
Thus, if you have increased blood pressure levels, it may be helpful to keep an eye on your salt consumption.
Sodium acts like a magnet for water and can pull excess fluid into the bloodstream, should there be an imbalance.
Consequently, it can damage the blood vessel linings over time, creating blood clots and putting you at risk for stroke or a heart attack.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), blood pressure values of more than 140/90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) constitute high blood pressure (hypertension).
How sensitive someone is to salt varies greatly from person to person. People who are sensitive to salt store more salt in their bodies, which means more fluid enters the cardiovascular system – and blood pressure rises.
How much salt a day is still healthy?
For the human body to function and remain healthy, it needs a certain amount of salt. Sodium, which occurs as table salt in the form of sodium chloride, regulates water balance and tissue tension in the body and is the basis for the excitability of muscles and nerves. Salt is also involved in digestion and bone formation.According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), no more than 6 grams of salt should be consumed per day. Other professional societies advocate even less. But many of us eat much more salt than necessary every day, because processed foods often already contain a lot of salt.
A diet that contains excess salt can cause swollen ankles.
Too much salt in the food you eat can result in the retention of water, which in turn, causes the swelling of ankles.
Sometimes, the ring that you have been wearing for years can feel tight now and then.
An overload of salt in your diet may be accountable for sporadic swelling.
After waking up in the morning, you notice that the region around your eyes and your cheeks are swollen. Increased salt consumption the day before may be the reason. Too much salt binds water in the body, which accumulates between the cells.
Making changes in your diet can prevent create further health problems.
When you spot any of the warning signs, take action immediately by reducing your salt intake and keeping your body hydrated.
Too much salt and obesity
As a flavor enhancer, salt stimulates the appetite and can thus promote the development of obesity.
Chips and flips, for example, consist of a specific mixture of carbohydrates, fat and salt, enriched with flavorings and colorings, sugar and spices.
This mixture is also called the “eating formula” and makes us unable to stop eating because it affects our feeling of satiety and activates the reward system in the brain.
It’s not always too many calories that cause you to gain weight. Instead, salt and water in the body ensure that the next morning the number on the scale is higher than usual. But don’t panic: a low-salt day and plenty of water will help get rid of excess water retention.
These foods contain a lot of salt
A recent study shows that salt substitutes, so-called pan or blood pressure salt, can reduce the risk of stroke and death.
However, this finding applies to “self-salting” food. That’s because salting pasta water or re-salting when we eat only accounts for 20 percent of our consumption at most.
Most salt – about 80 percent – is found in processed foods such as butter cookies, cornflakes, bread, cheese, sausage, ready-made sauces and, above all, convenience foods such as pizza.
The problem is that it’s hard to measure and difficult to assess how much salt we’re consuming.
And it takes a lot of effort to determine the salt content in each individual food.
Different types of salt: Is sea salt healthier?
Did you know that unrefined sea salt contains more trace elements and minerals than conventional household salt? So to do your body some good, you could switch to sea salt. In contrast, cheap salt from the supermarket lacks important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc due to chemical refining. However, sea salt surprisingly contains hardly any iodine. If you have a potential iodine deficiency, you should therefore use iodized table salt to cover your iodine requirements. Important: Use in moderation and preferably salt only when the dish is prepared. In this way, you can prevent excessive salt consumption.
What symptoms does a sodium deficiency cause?
If salt intake is less than three grams per day, there is a health risk, especially if sodium is lost at the same time.
The body loses water and salts during fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, the most common cause of sodium deficiency is medication such as dehydrating tablets, antihypertensives, antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs.
If the sodium level in the blood falls below a critical value (hyponatremia), dizziness, impaired balance and disorientation occur. Movements are slowed, and the risk of falling increases.
It is not uncommon for symptoms of sodium deficiency to be mistaken for the onset of dementia. A simple blood test can reveal a dangerous sodium deficiency.
Older people are particularly affected: they eat and drink less and thus also consume less salt.
References of “Eating too much salt symptoms”
- Urinary sodium excretion, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality: a community-level prospective epidemiological cohort study.
- Bluthochdruck in Deutschland. Daten aus sieben bevölkerungsbasierten epidemiologischen Studien (1994–2012)
- Effect of longer term modest salt reduction on blood pressure. Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials.
- Cardiovascular and other effects of salt consumption.
- Clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and treatment of hyponatraemia.
- Global Pattern of Microplastics (MPs) in Commercial Food-Grade Salts: Sea Salt as an Indicator of Seawater MP Pollution