Five Salty Truths for Good Health03 July, 2019
Salt, an ingredient in our food that is extremely essential for good health. Absence of salt has many more repercussions beyond bland food. Salt is crucial for our wellbeing. Sodium, the key component in salt plays an important role in the proper functioning of many biological processes. At the same time, excess sodium in our diet has harmful effects on our health. Here are some interesting facts about salt and its effects.
We can’t do without salt...
As the primary source of sodium, salt is extremely important to us. Low salt intake can be harmful to the human body. Sodium is required by our body to transmit nerve impulses, maintain proper fluid balance and to relax and contract muscle fibers. All of these functions have an enormous impact on our functioning.
...we can’t have too much salt either
WHO recommends that adults consume less than 5 gm (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day. Our kidneys remove excess sodium through urine; if enough sodium isn’t discarded through this process, it accumulates in the fluid between our cells. As this leads to water retention, the volume of fluid and blood increases in the body which leads to more pressure on the blood vessels. Over a period of time, this can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
We need iodine
Table salt is fortified with iodine to address the persistent problem of iodine deficiency all over the world. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make the thyroid hormone, which regulates functions such as growth, reproduction, muscle and nerve function, breakdown of fat etc. Iodine is especially important for pregnant women and children as it can impact growth and development. Iodine deficiency can lead to a serious condition known as goitre or hypothyroidism. Iodized salt is necessary to prevent this.
We don’t consume salt only through home-cooked food
More than the salt that we consume through our ghar ka khana, we consume salt through packaged snacks and processed foods. Whether it is a packet of chips or instant noodles, everything that can be bought readymade has high level of salt in it. Salt acts as preservative and increases the shelf life of these food items. If you are attempting to reduce your salt intake, it is important to be conscious of the salt consumed through these food products as well.
We have many alternatives
There are many alternatives available in the market in case you have been advised to reduce your sodium intake. Low-sodium salt like Tata Salt Lite can help you reduce sodium consumption through homemade food up to 15%. It is enriched with iodine and potassium, which means that you don’t have to compromise on the benefits or the taste. There are also options such as rock salt and black salt, if you are looking to add a different taste to your dishes.
It is important to maintain a delicate balance when it comes to salt in our diets. Each individual has unique needs and dietary concerns. It is best to consult your doctor to understand the right kind of salt for you and proper amount essential for your good health.