Sometimes we may indulge in not-so-healthy foods that contain much more fats, carbs, and other elements than it is considered normal for a healthy diet. If you come home after a hearty meal at a fast-food restaurant and can’t fall asleep because of your heart beating too fast and your body feeling swollen, it probably means you’ve eaten too much salt tonight. What happens and what to do in such situations? We’re ready to give you a couple of useful hints!
Salt in Scientific Terms
Let’s start with the basics – how much salt is it allowed to eat daily? First, it’s important to mention that salt and sodium are actually not one and the same thing. If we speak about table salt, it contains only around 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The American Heart Association, as well as the majority of other health centers and organizations, advise that we should consume around 2.3 grams of sodium per day (or less), which corresponds to about 5.8 grams, or 1 teaspoon of salt.
In reality, of course, things are not so optimistic. In the UK, people eat about 8.1 g of salt daily, Americans eat 8.6 g of salt on average, and most Australians eat incredible 10 g of salt each day – almost twice as much as it’s recommended!
We get about 65% of sodium from the foods we buy at supermarkets, around 25% from the meals we eat at restaurants, and about 10% from the food we cook ourselves at home. The conclusion is evident, right? Consume more homemade food – it’s tastier, healthier, and is filled with the cook’s love!
What Happens When You Eat Salt?
About 95% of the sodium you eat is entirely absorbed by your body, which means that even if you don’t indulge in salty foods too often it can still produce a negative impact in the long run. Soon your kidneys may find it too difficult to cope with the excess sodium and your body will start to retain water in the organism making you feel bloated.
This process triggers another one – extra liquid remains around the cells and the volume of blood in the body increases, too. As a result, your heart has to work more which eventually leads to higher blood pressure, heart attack, and even stroke!
What to Do after Overindulgence in Salty Foods?
• Drink lots of water. It will flush salt from your kidneys and prevent you from feeling bloated.
• Visit a gym or at least do a couple of exercises. Some sodium will leave your body through your sweat – don’t forget to drink enough water, though!
• Eat a banana. Potassium is among the elements that work well against sodium and bananas are among the foods that contain big amounts of it (other foods are leafy greens, potatoes, and white beans). However, if you have a kidney disease you should contact your doctor first!
• If you are
- 51 or more years old
- an African American
- the one with the cardiovascular disease
- the one with high blood pressure
it may mean that you have a higher risk of being even more sensitive to salt than others. If you belong to one of the groups, you’d better talk to your doctor about possible problems.