Indian cooking is incomplete without salt. Even though the amount varies from region to region and from main course to main course, almost all signature dishes have some amount of salt in them. While salt consumption in moderation acts as a taste enhancer (and is also essential for the body), changing lifestyles have led to an overall increase in per capita consumption of salt.
Ill effects of high salt consumption
We all know that high salt intake can increase blood pressure. This article will not stop only at that. Mentioned below are some of the acute and long-term effects of salt consumption.
Acute effects – Acute effects of high salt consumption include dizziness, cramps in muscles and nausea, among other things.
Long term effects – Consistent use of common salt in large quantities can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, edema, and cardiac enlargement. For a long list of diseases and conditions, you can check this list.
What makes salt the bad guy?
High blood pressure, and cardiovascular disorders have contributed significantly to the rising medical expenses in India. Medical insurance claims have gone up steadily in the past decade, mostly on account of lifestyle diseases. Increased intake of salt being one such lifestyle change.
So, what makes salt the bad guy? The answer lies in its composition. Common salt is made of sodium and chloride. Sodium, which makes for half of the composition of salt, is important for correct signal transmission in our nervous system, proper muscle functioning and overall fluid balance (which includes blood pressure), according to Mayo clinic. High amount of sodium in your system puts your body in a hyper-active mode. Your body starts to retain more water, which in turn, leads to more blood circulation, and, more fluid outside of your cells. This makes your heart work harder to maintain a proper flow. The extra pressure can lead to stiffening of blood vessels and, eventually, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular complications.
I like Salt, how do I change my habits?
The idea is to take it slow. Use herbs and spices to season food whenever possible. Use dried spices, zest from citrus fruits to add that zing to your food. According to Mayo clinic, you should avoid products with more than 200 mg of sodium per serving. Gradually, move to eating fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (both of which have low sodium quantities).
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