“How much salt intake is considered too much for the body?” is a question asked by most people, especially the elderly.
I cringe at the sour taste of lime every time. I can never get accustomed to it. I can say my tongue and taste buds are of a more refined nature. I can also say so for most people born and raised in the present generation (Gen Z). Taste is everything to us.
Hence, the reason why improved flavours in overly processed products flood the market these days. It will interest you to know that what excites your taste buds might just be the extra salt or sugar added. One has to stay in business somehow and a good business person provides what is in demand even if at the expense of the consumers.
What Is Salt?
Salt is a wonderful compound of sodium and chloride in a 40/60 ratio. One of nature’s finest compounds found and extracted from the sea. Salt purifies, preserves and above all, adds taste and flavour to food. It is also required in the body for the proper functioning of nerve impulses, to help muscles contract and relax, and to maintain the proper balance of water and minerals in the body.
Salt is so important, that it cannot be overlooked. However, salt is required in the body in small amounts. This is due to its dangerous health implications when consumed in large amounts.
WHO Recommended Daily Salt Intake
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the recommended daily salt intake for an adult is less than 5 grammes (approximately 2 grams of sodium).
When you convert grammes to teaspoons, you find out that a teaspoon is equivalent to 5.69 grammes. A teaspoon of salt is above the WHO-recommended daily salt intake. Keep in mind that a teaspoon is not a tablespoon. A tablespoon is larger than a teaspoon.
Dangers of Excessive Salt Intake
You might be wondering why the World Health Organisation is recommending such a small intake of salt every day for a person. Well, this is the reason:
Salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The presence of too much salt in the body is detrimental to health because of its sodium content. When there is so much sodium in the body, health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and calcium loss among others are bound to arise. It is important, therefore, that we strike a balance when consuming salt and high-sodium products.
How to Moderate Salt Intake
We get our salt intake from so many means. Salt is used in sun-drying food products. This is because salt is a good preservative. Bacteria find it difficult to thrive in a salty environment. When we consume preserved food, we consume a large amount of salt.
Other heavily processed foods contain salt too in varying proportions. Some processed foods may taste bland as if there has not been any salt added but in truth, salt was added. When we consume these very tasty foods, we consume large amounts of salt.
So what do we do, seeing that what is sold in the market these days is aimed at satisfying our palate while destroying our health?
- Go for fresh products if possible. This is easy as you can find out by its appearance. A tomato’s pureé, what we otherwise know as tomato paste, is different from fresh, round and whole tomatoes. This will help control the level of salt you’re consuming. If you must use a processed product, then acknowledge that salt has been added already and reduce the level of salt you will add to your food.
- Study the nutrition contents provided on the label or packaging of the product. This can provide further information on the product you are about to purchase.
- Reduce your consumption of processed foods.
- Wash preserved foods thoroughly before cooking. This will help eliminate germs as well as reduce the salt content in it.
- Do not always go for salty snacks.
- Visit the doctor for regular check-ups.
A lot of the illnesses people face in the world today can be conveniently avoided. If cautions are taken and people eat right, we will have a healthier world.