We all have been told from our childhood, that consuming an excess of salt is not good for our health. It can lead to different health-related problems. Even our doctors also give us the same suggestion, that we should consume less salt. But have you ever heard that consuming less salt is also not good for our health?
Yes, consuming less salt or completely avoiding salt can also have a negative impact on our health. So, one should consume the salt in a moderate quantity. There are both advantages and disadvantages of consuming salt which we will explain to you here. But before that let’s know a few things about salt.
WHAT IS SALT?
If we explain in the chemical language, salt is known as sodium chloride whose chemical formula is NaCl. Salt contains both sodium and chloride in it. There are a few types of salts which also have some limited amount of iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium present in it. We have different varieties of salt like Sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Black salt, and plain table salt. These different types of salts vary a little bit in taste. Their color and texture also vary from each other. You all should know that the sodium and the chloride which are present in the salt are required in our body. Salt is said to be the biggest sodium source. And that is why salt is also being referred to as sodium. Some of the food items which we consume have natural salt present in them. Whereas, there are many food items which we cook in our daily life in which we add salt for flavoring and taste.
HOW IS SALT OBTAINED?
Salt is obtained using two different methods. One method is by the evaporation of the seawater. As we all know that salt is present in the seawater or in any water which is rich in minerals. So, the mineral-rich water or the seawater is then evaporated to obtain salt from it. Further processing of the salt is done to obtain clear white salt. The other way to get the salt is with the help of salt mining. Many salt industries are there which do salt mining to obtain salt and it is then processed in those industries to form a salt that can be consumed.
FOOD ITEMS WHICH HAVE SALT?
If we talk about the natural food items, so they do not have high salt present in them. But the processed and the packaged food items which we consume these days, have high salt present in them. And most of us consume these packaged and processed food items. It can be instant soups, or canned food and beverages, pickled foods, processed meat, pre-cooked vegetables, salted snacks like chips, french fries, nachos, etc. Even the food that is served in most of the restaurants also has high salt present in them to make them tasty. That is why it is being suggested that one should try to eat at home or should try to eat home-cooked food. Also, we should add the salt in moderation while cooking at home. As excess of anything is harmful!
HOW MUCH SALT ONE SHOULD CONSUME/DAY?
In general, it is always recommended to consume around 1 teaspoon of salt every day. Most of the health care advisors suggest that one should not consume more than 5 grams of salt per day. There are many food items which we eat, which already have salt present in them, which we have mentioned above.
ADVANTAGES OF SALT
1) SALT HELPS IN RESISTING SUNSTROKE
If a person is suffering from sunstroke, it is always recommended to provide them with the water with salt and sugar dissolved in it. This helps in balancing the loss of salt and water during the sunstroke. As a person perspires more when their body becomes hot or when they are suffering from sunstroke. Even during dehydration also, the same thing is recommended. It helps in bringing back the body temperature from low to normal. Also, it helps maintain the electrolyte level in the body. For sustainable hydration levels, it is very important to consume salt.
2) GOOD FOR DENTAL HYGIENE
Most of the dentists also suggest that we should rinse our mouth using the saltwater, as it helps keep the mouth bacteria away. A mixture of baking soda, salt, and warm water, is also being used for whitening the teeth and keeping the plaque away. This also helps in reducing the swelling in the gums and keep them healthy.
3) HELPFUL IN MUSCLE CRAMPS
Drinking water or any drink which has salt present in it, helps give relief from the muscle cramps. No matter whether these muscle cramps are because of the heavy exercise or heavyweight you have lifted today or because of the alcoholism or any other such problem. A drink infused with salt can be taken to treat it, but make sure that you add salt in a limited quantity only.
DISADVANTAGES OF SALT
1) DAMAGES KIDNEYS
One of the adverse effects of consuming salt is on kidneys only. As salt has sodium present in it, and it affects the kidneys. The minerals present in salt lead to a rise in blood pressure. This results in the formation of crystals in the kidneys, which can cause damage to them.
Another adverse effect of salt on our body is hypertension. This is also because consuming an excess of salt will raise the blood level and blood pressure. This leads to cardiovascular risks like heat stroke. So, try to consume salt in a limited quantity only.
You all would have heard that consumption of excess salt can even lead to weight gain also. That is why the people who are trying to lose weight are recommended to keep less salty food items in their diet.
We are sure that your confusion about salt that whether it is good for health or not, would have gone away by now. Salt has both advantages and disadvantages, but it is on us that how we consume it. If we are consuming it within limits it will not leave any negative impact on our body.
Wishing you Good Health!