Harmful Effects of Excess Salt in the Diet

Harmful Effects of Excess Salt in the Diet

Harmful Effects of Excess Salt in the Diet

Salt plays an essential part in the diet. However, this basic ingredient can also have a negative effect on our health when consumed in high amounts. Take a look at some of the harmful effects of excess salt in the diet below.

1. Spikes Blood Pressure

Studies have found a clear link between the foods we eat and how they affect our blood pressure levels. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. There are various risk factors that may lead to high blood pressure, such as smoking, obesity, stress, and old age. Salt, however, is also a major risk factor. Especially when consumed from processed foods that have hidden sodium levels. Fast foods, pre-packaged foods, and ready-to-go meals all have a high salt content as well as cholesterol and oil, which in turn may lead to weight gain and obesity, thus causing hypertension.

2. Heart Disease

According to research, high levels of salty, processed foods may also lead to a higher risk for heart disease. Unfortunately, most people have no idea how much salt they are actually consuming from day-to-day, making the risk factors even higher. Those with type 2 diabetes should also watch their intake, as they are at an even higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

3. May Delay Puberty

One study done at the University of Wyoming found that excess dietary salt may result in late onset puberty, which may also cause behavioral issues, high stress, and reduced fertility. Researchers found that the salt intake in our diets has a more significant effect on our reproductive health than the fat content of our diet.

4. Damage to Organs

Diets rich in sodium can have a long term effect on our organs, including the heart, brain, blood vessels, and kidneys. Those who already suffer from high blood pressure and cholesterol are often recommended to avoid salt altogether, while others are advised to have a strict watch on their salt intake as well as the type of salt they are consuming.

 5. Enlargement of Muscle Tissue
Other studies have found that high sodium intake may also lead to left ventricular hypertrophy, (enlargement of the muscle tissue) that makes up the wall of the heart’s main pumping chamber. High salt intake can cause the walls of the chamber to become thicker, causing them to become less compliant and unable to pump as needed.

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