Deep fried foods and other processed foods are considered the most unhealthy foods that contain minimum nutrition and maximum calories that are responsible for weight gain & lifestyle related health disorders. What is often forgotten yet an important culprit behind weight gain & health issues is excessive salt consumption.
The daily requirement of sodium is 2300 mg, as per the Indian guidelines of dietary intake, which is got from 5 grams of salt. The most important mineral got from salt is sodium that has many health benefits like enzyme operation and muscle contraction and fluid regulation in the system. This requirement is easily met by the regular meals in the home cooked food.
It’s not about the regular salt content in the home cooked food but the consumption of extra salt through foods like Pickles, chutneys, sauces and ketchups, papads, chips and salted biscuits, savoury items, cheese and salted butter, canned foods (vegetables, dals & meats), bakery products, ready made soup powders, dried salted fish, smoked meats, chinese food. These were some of the obvious products but there are still some not so obvious pre-packaged products that might be harming you. Here is how : to improve the shelf life of a food product preservatives are used. Besides many chemicals that are used to preserve food the two most common artificial or natural preservatives used are salt or sugar. Both are equally harmful for health if taken in large quantities over a period of time.
Too much of salt has adverse effects on general health, some of which are as follows:
Water Retention: Kidney regulate sodium levels so when sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium in blood. But if for some reason, kidneys can’t eliminate the excess sodium, it enters your blood stream draws water out of the cells into the tissues thus making you look feeling bloated.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Excess sodium attracts and holds water, increasing blood volume which makes your heart work harder and increases pressure in your arteries. Studies have proved that you can lower your blood pressure by as much as 25% by reducing your sodium intake through diet.
Abnormal Heart Development: Over a period of time, your heart being working harder due to excess sodium can become abnormally large leading to thinner heart valves. An enlarged heart which is weaker leads to breathlessness, chest pain and fatigue.
Osteoporosis: Sodium inhibits calcium absorption leading to decreased bone mass and increased porousness of bones. This leads to fragile bone which is at high risk for fractures. Older women should especially watch their salt intake.
Not only this, excessive sodium can severely hinder nerve impulses leading to symptoms like dizziness and muscle cramps. Cuisines like Chinese have especially high levels of sodium in them. Just to give you a perspective one tablespoon of soya sauce has approximately 1000mg of sodium. And as we mentioned your daily requirement of sodium is met by one teaspoon of salt. You can now get a drift of how much extra sodium is present in your single bowl of sweet and sour soup. Keeping in mind soup is just a starter of a single meal and not the main course for most of us.
If you are looking to assess your daily dietary intake and how it might be affecting your health then try our Health Assessment Report, a list of 20 easy questions will you an insight on your good and bad dietary habits along with recommendations on how to improve your lifestyle for a healthier tomorrow.