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You might want to ease up on the saltshaker. Diets that are too high in sodium, the main ingredient in salt, have been associated with an array of health hazards. According to the American Heart Association, the saltshaker is not the only thing we should ease up on. 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes not from the saltshaker, but from processed and restaurant food.
Why We Love Salt
A 2011 Australian study found that the brain responds to sodium similar to how it does for substances such as heroin, cocaine, and nicotine, which may explain why so many of us tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can actually prove deadly.
A high-sodium diet can interfere with this delicate process and reduce kidney function such as telling the body when to retain or get rid of water. Excess levels of water in the body is linked with high blood pressure. The result is less water removed from the body, which may lead to higher blood pressure. High-sodium diets can also increase risk of kidney stones. According to Medical Daily this excess strain on the kidneys can lead to kidney disease or exacerbate kidney problems in those already with the condition.
Due to salt’s fluid retention effect, in some individuals excessive amounts of salt in their diet can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood, and high blood pressure can lead to many serious conditions, such as stroke and heart failure.
A high sodium diet is linked to a higher risk of bone thinning. High levels of sodium in the body interrupts the bodies excretion process such as rarely urinating and retaining fluids or over excreting. This results in a loss of calcium in the urine and increased risk of bone thinning.
A diet high in sodium can leave your skin looking puffy and lead to a high risk of inflammation. Excessive salt in the diet can cause a symptom known as edema. As reported by Medical Daily, edema is characterized by swelling, particularly in the hands, arms, ankles, legs, and feet, caused by fluid retention.