Although salt adds taste to our food, and not many can eat without it, it is essential to check how much salt you consume. From adding salt to your stews and soups or happy hour cocktail rim, you might lose track of how much salt (or sodium) you consume in a day.
Also, if you’re regularly dining out or fond of eating packaged or processed foods, including canned veggies and beans, frozen meals, or soup, you could consume way more sodium than is best for you. You could even get a full day’s worth of salt from packaged or processed foods without picking up a salt shaker!
Overeating salt more than the recommended (6g per day) amount can lead to serious adverse effects on your health. For those already having heart disease, compliance with salt intake is paramount as it affects the effectiveness of treatment drugs and enhances the risk of acute complications, including high blood pressure and heart failure.
And for healthy people, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. To keep the required salt intake, you shouldn’t eat more than one tablespoon of table salt in all foods prepared for a whole day.
However, most of us quickly eat more salt than recommended without knowing it. It can be discouraging to figure out how much salt you’re consuming based on numbers alone; who cares to track every salt intake anyway. But some common signs can alert you you’re overeating salt. Some of the signs are;
1. High blood pressure
The most critical sign of high salt intake is high blood pressure. You can measure yourself at home in the morning using the blood pressure monitor. High blood pressure is said to be more pronounced when readings are 140/90 mmHg and above.
2. Water retention in the tissues
Consuming too much salt causes water retention in the tissues. Therefore, you may feel heavier, and your eyelids may be more swollen after waking up. At times, the ring finger may become tighter, and the ankle or the whole foot may be swollen to the extent that when you press with the hand, it can leave a slight indentation.
3. Feeling thirsty frequently
Too much salt intake can cause you to experience dry mouth and lips, making you drink more water than usual. You may not be aware you’re drinking too much water because you frequently feel thirsty and satisfy your thirst.
However, as much as drinking too much water may be odd, it benefits you in disguise. This is because drinking enough water is the best way to correct the high quantity of sodium in your blood.
4. Persistent urination
Overeating salt can make you urinate persistently. Following a high-salt meal, urine tends to look thicker, darker, and have a more pungent smell. To stop this, cut your salt intake and drink plenty of fluids to eliminate excess sodium.
5. Digestive disorders
Feelings of abdominal pain, bloating, or even indigestion may increase with high sodium or salt intake. If you notice you’re overeating salt, you should work on cutting it back. To do that, you need to eat more fresh foods, ditch salt, and limit eating meals outside the home during the week. And in cases where you already have heart disease or hypertension, speak to a doctor about how to comply with the salt intake that will be best for you.