We need salt to survive as our bodies rely on sodium for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions and the control systems for balancing body fluids, together with other electrolytes like potassium.
However, our bodies react negatively when we consume too much salt, and this can affect our brain, kidneys, arteries and heart.
Salt is the major factor contributing to stroke and heart attacks in South Africa, claiming more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined. The World Health Organization recommends 5g per day; however, it is estimated that South Africans use 8.5g.
Here is a list of reasons why too much salt is bad for your health:
1. Cardiovascular disease
Exceeding the recommended daily sodium intake contributes to a high risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. According to an article published in the BMJ, high salt intake is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, high dietary sodium intake has been linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study also reveals that a high dietary sodium intake may impair cognitive function in older people.
Swelling of the knees or feet and even your hands can be caused by oedema. An article published in Livestrong.com claims that a high sodium diet causes your body to retain water. Depending on the severity, it may be treated with either a change in diet or prescription medication.
5. Stomach cancer
Overconsumption of processed foods is harmful to your stomach. Reducing your bacon, sausages, high in salt and hidden fats can reduce your risk of stomach cancer, according to Consensus Action on Salt & Health. Men are more vulnerable than women.
Read more: www.health24.com
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