5 Signs You're Eating Too Much Salt: How Your Body Warns You

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.03 - 2024 11:12 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Salt adds flavor to our food, but too much of it can be harmful. Most store-bought foods, even sweet ones, contain salt, leading to overconsumption. Your body signals when you’ve crossed the line, so here are five signs to watch for.

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There's no universal agreement among doctors on how much salt is safe to consume daily.

According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily sodium intake is 1,500 mg, with a more lenient suggestion of 2,400 mg. However, the average American consumes about 3.4 grams of sodium daily.

1,500 mg of sodium equals three-quarters of a teaspoon or 3.75 grams of salt per day.

Signs of Excessive Salt Intake

1. You're Always Thirsty

Feeling constantly thirsty is a primary sign of excessive salt consumption. Your body needs more water to balance the sodium levels.

When there’s too much sodium, your body signals the brain that it needs more water to restore balance.

2. High Blood Pressure

Salt increases blood volume, putting pressure on the heart and arteries, which manifests as high blood pressure.

This added strain can have serious health implications over time.

3. Stomach Problems

Salt can promote the growth of bacteria like Heliobacter Pylori, which can lead to stomach issues.

While the presence of this bacteria doesn’t always cause illness, it often results in symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, and loss of appetite. Long-term, this can lead to gastritis or ulcers.

4. Swollen Hands and Feet

Consuming too much salt can cause swelling in your hands, feet, and even around your eyes.

This bloating is a clear signal from your body that it's retaining excess water to balance the high sodium levels.

5. Kidney Stones

Excessive salt intake increases the calcium levels in your urine, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

These stones are painful and can cause serious health issues if not managed properly.

By paying attention to these signs, you can take steps to reduce your salt intake and improve your overall health. Remember, moderation is key when it comes to salt. Listen to your body’s signals and make healthier choices to maintain optimal well-being.

Too Little Salt Can Also Be Harmful

While excessive salt intake can be detrimental to your health, consuming too little salt can also be harmful. It's crucial to maintain a balanced intake of salt.

According to the American Heart Association, salt plays an important role in maintaining fluid balance, transmitting nerve impulses, and ensuring proper muscle function. They recommend a maximum of 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, but you can safely consume less than that amount​

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