Salt makes food taste better. But, the taste is not the only thing we should be looking for in a food. There are lots of are things that need to be kept in mind while choosing our foods. Additionally, too much salt can invite many dangers to our body.
What is salt?
Salts like sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, which are vital for our body are called as mineral salts. We get these salts through vegetables, fruits, grains and other foods. Apart from these salts, the salt that we get from sea water is called as sodium chloride. This salt is what we use for cooking. Cooking salt or table salt are other names for this salt. In this article when we mention the name “Salt”, we only mean the common salt.
What is the source of salt?
Fruits, Vegetables, and food items we consume have most of the vital mineral salts that are necessary for our body. Apart from these salts, we add sodium chloride, which is, the common salt.
Why our body need salt?
Salts keeps our brain active. It also helps to keep us active physically. Our muscles need salts for its normal functioning. Sodium chloride helps the heart muscles to contract and expand. So, it’s essential for heart’s health.
A normal person can consume around 5 to 6 grams of salt through his or her food. This quantity differs from person to person, it depends on the person’s health condition and age.
Children can consume 6 to 7 grams of sodium salt per day. Because they need it for their normal growth.
Patients with high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and kidney problems should consume salt as per their Doctor’s advice. Salt level for older people varies with their health condition. At the maximum, they can consume about 3 grams a day.
Problems that Arises due to excess salt consumption
- The primary organ that will be largely affected due to excess salt would be kidneys. It reduces urination. Also, will lead to many kidney related problems.
- It affects brain growth. It will lead to changes in brain functions. Excess salt can also lead to epilepsy.
- It can disturb the normal rhythm of heart beats, cause palpitation, heart pain, and other heart diseases.
- When salt consumption increases beyond a certain limit, it will lead to fluid buildup in the lungs.
For the attention of Kidney patients
Kidney patients must consume really low levels of salt. They should consume only half the levels of salt as consumed by a normal person.
Meat, green vegetables, potatoes, and foods rich in carbohydrates have high levels of salt content. Instead of avoiding these foods completely, they can be consumed in reduced quantity.
Symptoms of Excess salt levels in body
Vomiting, edema in hands and legs, fatty liver, continuous fever, reduced urination, indigestion, irregular heart beats, epilepsy, and loss of balance.
We can find out salt levels in our body by measuring the levels of urea, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride and carbonate.
What are the ways to reduce salt
- Reduce the amount of salt while cooking foods. Some people have the habit of adding more salt to their foods to enhance its flavor, this can be avoided.
- Eggs, greens, vegetables naturally have salt content in it. So it’s enough to add low levels of salt while cooking them. Though it would be difficult initially to consume foods with low levels of salt, but it’s not that difficult once you get used to it.
- Restaurants and fast foods add more salt and flavor enhancers to their foods, to make it taste better. So, avoid eating out as much as possible.
- Canned and prepackaged foods will have high levels of salt content. This is because salt is a natural preservative. So avoid prepackaged foods like pickles, chips, sauce etc.
Types of salt and who can use it?
Rock Salt: It is rich in mineral salts like iodine, manganese, zinc, and calcium. Also, it is rich in iron. This type of salt can be consumed by anemia patients.
Iodized Salt: This salt has high levels of iodine. It can be consumed by children. Iodized salts are good for children’s brain development and proper functioning of their muscles. It maintains body’s metabolism. It also helps with, normal functioning of endocrine glands. Patients with high blood pressure and heart diseases can avoid this type of salt.
Kosher Salt: Anemia and high blood pressure patients must avoid this salt. Young kids and children can consume this.
Sea Salt: Sea salt can be used in pickles and spicy foods. Also, heart patients and diabetes patients must avoid using this.