If you read The Centurion, you’ve definitely seen one or two posts about sugar: why it’s bad (but so delicious!), why you should probably quit eating it so much and what happens when you do. However, as awful as excessive sugar is for you, it’s not the only hazard hiding in your snacks. Today, we’re looking at another dietary disaster: salt.
Even fancy salt is not immune from being problematic.
Salt is crucial to your diet. Your body needs salt for nerve transmissions, balanced body fluids and muscle contractions. Unfortunately, too much salt also carries health risks. Overindulging in salt can affect the kidneys, arteries, heart and brain. While having a salty snack every now and then is not going to hurt you, the key to a healthy diet is always moderation. This goes for salt too! If you are ready to get in shape, then you should look at your diet first.
Sodium is in just about everything! Make sure that you check the sodium intake on your favorite foods. There are many ways to cut back on a high sodium diet and many substitutes for salty foods. Before you commit to your new diet, however, it is best to know why you should take your sodium intake seriously. Here are the five top reasons to cut back on a salty diet:
1. To Help Kick Food Cravings
Be strong; just say 'no.'
As you begin your journey into a healthy, fit lifestyle, you don’t want to crave unhealthy foods all of the time. This is going to make the change a lot more difficult. Did you know that salt causes you to crave other salty foods? As you eat salt, your taste buds become accustomed to it. Therefore, you no longer register the high salt content of the food by taste.
Those who eat too much salt tend to need to add more salt to their food, not to mention, they tend to like saltier foods more. This can be difficult to overcome if you’re cutting back. If you want to avoid the cravings, avoid the salt.
2. To Boost Kidney Function
Around 1 in every 3 American adults has high blood pressure.
Kidney function is crucial to your health. Your kidneys are there to remove waste, control red blood cells and to balance your fluid levels. A high sodium diet impairs kidney function. And too much sodium can be a double-whammy to these vital organs: it also causes high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes it difficult for your kidneys to remove unwanted toxins from your blood. When you have a high salt diet, you are restricting your kidneys.
3. Because No One Likes Bloating…
Feeling puffy? It could be the french fries you had yesterday.
Bloating is incredibly uncomfortable. If you find yourself bloated frequently, then high-salt foods might be the culprit. Eating high-salt foods, especially processed ones (which tend to be sodium bombs), causes you to retain water weight. If this is a problem for you, try lowering your salt intake. You might be surprised what too much salt has been doing to your body.
4. …Or Swelling
It looks so innocent... but it's just waiting to give you edema.
As referenced before, salt causes your body to retain water. While this leads to bloat, it can also lead to edema. Edema is the swelling of knees, feet or hands due to water retention. While some people need to be treated by a doctor for edema, for other patients, the solution is as simple as quitting the high sodium food.
5. To Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Show your heart that you love it!
You have probably heard about cardiovascular disease. It is a serious condition but you lower your chances of developing it if you keep to a healthy diet regimen. One of the leading factors concerning cardiovascular disease is consuming too much salt.
While salt might be necessary, the high amounts of sodium that some people eat is damaging their health extensively. Cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes. All of these conditions are potentially serious if they go unchecked.
One of the best ways to get healthy is to start making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. Some of these changes are simple. When it comes to sodium intake, there is a lot of havoc that salt can wreak on your body. While you do need to have some salt, there is generally too much in snack and processed foods.
Pay attention to the label and try to stay within the recommended sodium intake. The truth is that most people consume above the recommended amount. Not only will cutting down salt help you stay on a healthy track, it’ll also decrease your chances of heart disease, bloating, edema and may even help you keep your kidneys healthy!