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Ten Reasons Why Salt is Bad for you

Salt is a common part of many people's diets as it is used for preserving and cooking certain foods, as well as being a popular seasoning and table condiment. The recommended daily amount for adults is 6g a day, which amounts to approximately one teaspoon, but you should try and aim for less than that as it can lead to a number of health complaints.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

There is a strong link between high salt intake and a detrimental effect on blood pressure levels. Increased blood pressure leads to more muscular vessels which in turn narrow the space and further pushes pressure levels up. High salt intake can also hinder the positive effects of blood pressure medicines.

HEART DISEASE

High blood pressure can cause a number of other problems, one of which is heart disease. The first noticeable signs may come in the form of the sharp chest pains of angina and can lead to much more serious concerns, including a heart attack.

STROKES

A high salt-related poor blood flow can have negative effects on the brain as well as the heart; it may cause vascular dementia due to a shortage of oxygen reaching the brain and in extreme cases it can also cause strokes.

KIDNEY DISEASE

The kidneys perform a very important filtration process which works on a critical balance of sodium and potassium and too much salt causes this process to malfunction and lead to kidney diseases in many forms. Most notably, if the kidneys stop working properly, dangerous and toxic substances can begin to build up in the body.

KIDNEY STONES

One particularly painful manifestation of kidney problems is the development of kidney stones. This can be the result of a low fluid intake paired with a high sodium, or salt, intake. Kidney stones are not only agonising but can also do plenty of internal damage too.

POTASSIUM INTAKE

As mentioned above, high sodium levels are balanced against potassium levels and too much salt can result in a shortage of potassium. Bananas are a good source of potassium to replenish your body's supplies.

STOMACH CANCER

Salt is a necessary component in the formation of stomach acid but too much of it can also be extremely harmful, sometimes manifesting itself in the form of stomach cancer. This is a very current area of research and more will hopefully be known in the near future.

OSTEOPOROSIS

Aside from the vital organs, salt can also cause damage to the bones, most notably through osteoporosis which results in weakness and increased susceptibility to fractures. This is because salt causes greater calcium excretion and bones rely on calcium to maintain their strength and durability.

WATER RETENTION WEIGHT GAIN

For those who are more concerned with aesthetic effects rather than internal health problems, weight gain can be directly linked to a high salt intake. Salt draws water into your system and this can lead to water retention which is a major cause of weight gain. This is just a visible representation of the serious imbalances that too much salt causes. 

EDEMA

Water retention can be even more evident than in weight gain, as it can also lead to edema (a condition formerly known as dropsy) which leads to a swelling beneath the skin due to a build-up of excess fluid, usually in the limbs and extremities.

Overall, salt is an important part of our diet but should, as with many things, only be consumed in moderation. Too much salt can have a huge number of negative effects on the body, including on the vital organs, the bones and on external appearance.

Article by Tony, a British blogger writing on behalf of http://www.rangecookers.co.uk/

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