Nutrition and DietWhy is it not good to add salt to foods and how...

Why is it not good to add salt to foods and how to reduce it?

We tend to eat more salt than recommended every day, with the obvious health risks that this entails. Find out why we shouldn’t add more salt to our meals and how to easily avoid it.

Did you know that every day we tend to consume more salt than we really should? Many studies estimate that each day we take around 10 grams of salt per day, when in fact the theoretically recommended thing is not to exceed 4 or 5 grams per day. The conclusion is more than evident: we eat more salt than we should, and in part the “fault” is not ours, since many of the industrial products that we eat daily already have an excessive salt content in their composition.

That is, it is not so much the fault of the salt shaker that we put on the table when we eat or the salt that we add to food when we are preparing it in the kitchen, and it is the fault of many of the products that we eat or drink already prepared. What’s more, it is estimated that three-quarters of the sodium chloride we eat each day originally comes from the preparation of the products we consume.

And, among these products, we find foods as diverse as bread and pastries, sandwiches, cookies, packaged soups, pizzas, cheeses … and even fruit juices or juices. Because, indeed, believe it or not, an apparently sweet sugary drink also contains a very high amount of sodium … even if we do not realize it.

But let’s go a little further and analyze some of the most consumed daily products in terms of their salt content. Seemingly “normal” products that actually provide a lot of sodium chloride:

  • 100 gr. ketchup type sauce: 4 grams.
  • 1 bowl of packaged soup: 2.5 grams.
  • 1 slice of pizza (200 grams): 2.6 grams.
  • Half baguette: 1.70 grams.
  • 50 gr. of cereals: 1.2 grams.
  • 1 portion of chocolate: 0.5 grams.
  • 5 cookies (type Maria): 0.4 grams.

As we can see, if for example we choose for dinner a bowl or bowl of packaged soup thinking that it is a healthy option because it is apparently low in fat and calories, the truth is that we would be providing our body with half the salt that we should have consumed throughout the day. And if we add to that the quite probable situation that, for example, at midmorning we have eaten a piece of bread or a bowl of cereal for breakfast … we will have already exceeded that amount.

The solution? Do not add more salt to the meals we consume daily, and try especially to substitute salt for other healthier and more natural options such as spices and herbs, which can also add flavor to food without increasing its salt content. But how to achieve it?

What does excess salt do to our body?

Although sodium chloride is essential for the functioning of our body, an excess of salt is always counterproductive, and can even be very dangerous for our health. Therefore, when we exceed the daily consumption of salt, it becomes a harmful element for health, with the following effects:

  • Increases the risk of blood pressure, being more likely to suffer from high blood pressure over time.
  • Increases the loss of calcium in the kidneys.
  • It damages the digestive system.
  • Appetite increases and therefore we tend to eat more, in turn increasing our weight.
  • It is a risk for heart disease.
  • It can be the origin of heart and brain diseases.

Helpful tips not to add more salt to meals:

If you are in the habit of adding salt to most of the foods you eat (especially at lunch and dinner), it is possible that at first it will be difficult to get rid of it, it is quite likely that everything you eat seems bland. This is normal, as your taste buds are “used” to the salty taste of food. But little by little you can change this habit. How? Take note:

  • Substitute salt for other healthier options: A good option is to opt for herbs and spices that in addition to flavor provide better aromas to the dishes, and even help to intensify the flavor of some foods. For example, dill is ideal for salmon and the sweet sauces that accompany it, while oregano is very interesting when it is added on top of some slices of fresh tomatoes. For broths and soups a useful option is parsley or black pepper.
  • Remove the salt shaker from the table: It is possible that in your house they still have the habit of having the salt shaker on the table. It is best to try to always remove it from the table, banishing it completely.
  • Cook with less salt: It is evident that many of the recipes that we make every day, especially if you are in the habit of cooking at home, need a few teaspoons of salt to add flavor. You can either substitute it for spices or herbs or season it directly in the kitchen adding only the recommended amount.

 But let’s not look at salt with bad eyes.

Salt, or almost better said sodium chloride, is essential and necessary for the proper functioning of our body. For example, thanks to its relationship with potassium, an adequate water balance takes place in our body.

On the other hand, we cannot forget about its organoleptic qualities, which means that it helps us to intensify the flavor of the food we eat, so that without it, everything would actually taste bland.

Therefore, yes, but in the right measure. And as we can see, most of the foods we eat every day already contain enough sodium chloride that our body needs.  Therefore, it is best not to add more salt to foods than those that they already contain.

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