Why and How to Avoid Too Salty Food

Written by: Damijana Prese─Źnik, M. Sc. in Nutrition

Salt plays an important role in our everyday nutrition, but too much (or too little) salt can cause health troubles. For example, the doctors advise people with raised blood pressure to reduce salt in their meals. But why is that so? What effect does salt have on our body and why?

Recommendations about daily salt intake say that a teaspoon of salt per day is more than enough. However, we still exceed this amount by adding more salt to the food to make it tastier. Keep reading to find out, how too much salt influences your body and how to reduce the daily salt intake.

Sodium as the Main Trouble-maker

Cooking salt is composed of sodium and chlorine. The first of the both elements also influences the fluid filtering process in your kidneys. When we eat foods high in sodium, the amount of it in our body raises and prevents kidneys from filtering the extra water out of our blood. Too much water in our cardiovascular system raises blood pressure. Latter causes thickening of the arteries and that doubles the problem by  causing even more pressure and putting strain on our kidneys, heart, and brain as well. If not taken into consideration and regulated long term, too much salt in combination with other factors can cause kidney failure, clogged arteries, heart attack, or stroke.

Reduce Salt and Sodium Intake by Following these Simple Tips

Reducing daily salt intake to recommended amount of less than a teaspoon is good for everyone. Unless you are a professional athlete or foundry worker who is sweating a lot (by which you also lose a lot of salt from your body), you may want to consider my tips:

  • Keep in mind that most sodium comes from the processed, prepackaged and restaurant foods. Thus, prepare as many meals as you can at home, using basic ingredients.
  • Use salt rationally while cooking. Don't use much and add it at the end of the cooking process in order for it to not dissolve as much vitamins and minerals from the foods you are preparing.
  • Instead of improving the taste of food by adding salt, try to add some spices and herbs instead. Even better would be not to add salt at all. Did you know that getting used to less salty taste on average only takes 3 weeks?
  • Choose the foods you use and eat carefully. Read the declaration and try to pick products labeled to contain less sodium.
  • Don't add salt to food without tasting it first. At the dining table, we are likely to develop a habit of grabbing a salt shaker without even trying the food first. Try to avoid that.
  • Use iodized salt for proper thyroid hormone production. Make sure to add iodized salt at the end of cooking and store it in an airtight container, because iodine is very volatile.

People think that if they don't add salt to their food, it will be tasteless. But that's not true. We can easily learn to prepare very tasty meals by using quality ingredients in a proper manner. So why not enjoy our less-salty food and live healthy?