HEALTH AND NUTRITION

What happens to your body when you eat too much salt

Basically, your body needs about 1,500 milligrams of it every day.

In Summary

•Basically, your body needs about 1,500 milligrams of it every day.

•For our body to function we need sodium in a moderated amount, for better muscle and nerve function.

salt
salt
Image: Pixabay

The saying, too much of something is poisonous, perhaps it is high time you know your limit.

We all know salt is one ingredient some of us cannot do without, as it adds taste and flavor to food.

Table Salt, according to WebMD has about 60% chloride and about 40% sodium.

Nearly all unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, whole grains, and dairy foods are low in sodium. 

For our body to function we need sodium in a moderated amount, for better muscle and nerve function.

When matched with chloride, it helps your body balance water and mineral.

However, eating too much salt may cause several health issues in the short and long term.

The Star got to talk to a Nanyuki-based dietician, Wincate Wangari, and here is what she had to say.

“The body needs about one gram of salt to accomplish these tasks. While high salt intake has been associated with high blood pressure, it has unfavorable direct effects on all the organs of the body,” she said.

Basically, your body needs about 1,500 milligrams of it every day.

The WHO set this limit of fewer than five grams for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart attack.

Studies have shown that if this amount is exceeded, we start seeing negative health effects, especially on blood pressure. 

"This is because salt bonds with water. This bonding causes the pressure in our tissues to rise, which can increase blood pressure and lead to a higher risk of stroke or heart attack," Wangari said.

She however warned that salt isn’t the only thing that influences blood pressure.

Wangari warned of excessive thirst if you take a lot of salt.
Wangari warned of excessive thirst if you take a lot of salt.
Image: Pixabay

"The reality is that many different factors affect blood pressure," said Wangari.

 "In addition to salt consumption, other factors include physical activity, stress, preexisting medical conditions, and the rest of your dietary habits."

Apart from raising the body's blood pressure, Salt also negatively affects the liver, the kidneys, brain, skin, bones, and muscles by increasing the inflammation at a cellular level.

"Salt reduces bone density, in the heart, it causes ventricular dysfunction, in the brain, it has been found to affect the sympathetic outflow," she said.

Wangari warned of excessive thirst if you take a lot of salt.

Foods with flavors like tomato ketchup, soy sauce, MSG, and fish sauce contain a high quantity of sodium.
Foods with flavors like tomato ketchup, soy sauce, MSG, and fish sauce contain a high quantity of sodium.
Image: thepetitecook.com

"At that time, your body is trying to balance the sodium-to-water ratio.

If it does not fix that ratio, a person risks a condition where there is more sodium than water in the body.:"

Consuming too much salt has also been linked to water retention by the body. This can also lead to fluid collecting in the tissues and cavities.

"To keep the salt intake in check, buy fresh meat and vegetables instead of packaged and processed ones," she advised.

" Be keen on reading labels and check the sodium content in any packed foods you buy."

Wangari advised when eating out, ask for minimal salt in your dish.

"Foods with flavors like tomato ketchup, soy sauce, MSG, and fish sauce contain a high quantity of sodium,"

"Avoid these foods or reduce consumption if you suspect your salt intake is high."

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