Salt- How much is too much( Also compare Rock salt vs sea salt vs table salt)

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GABBAR – Tera kya hoga re, Kaliya?
KALIYA – Maine to apka namak khaya hai, Sarkar..
GABBAR – Ab.. goli kha…

Well, I didn’t really think Gabbar had his medical knowledge so sorted before I heard these dialogues. But he got it right! zyada namak khane se, goli bhi khana padega!

Why do we need salt?

Our body needs sodium for muscle contractions and electrical signaling in the nervous system. It is also involved in regulating the body’s fluid balance thus controlling blood pressure and blood volume.

How much salt do we need?

Adults need only 6gms of salt every day (little more than one teaspoon). Indians consume much more on an average, and as a nation, we need not be worried about deficiency.

Side effects of excess Sodium:

Increased sodium in the bloodstream reduces the ability of kidneys to remove water. It also causes higher blood pressure due to extra fluid and extra strain on the blood vessels. Over time, this higher blood pressure can damage the kidneys.  To cope with the extra strain, artery walls become stronger, thicker and constricted which raises your blood pressure even higher. This could eventually lead to heart disease or Stroke if intake of salt is not controlled.

Ways to reduce salt in your diet:

  1. Add salt to food while cooking at the end because you will need less.
  2. Avoid canned foods and if you have to use them rinse the contents before use
  3. When you’ve eaten too much salt, consume fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium to balance it out– like bananas, milk, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes
  4. Make your own salad dressing with ingredients like hung curd, vinegar or lemon juice. Use other herbs and spices for flavor. Add flavorful vegetables like onions and peppers to low-fat meats.
  5. Avoid processed foods – 80% of the salt we eat is hiding in processed foods.eg: Tomato ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mixtures, tinned food, instant soups, Breakfast cereals, Biscuits, Bread
  6. Look for low-salt options while shopping.
  7. Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
  8. Avoid adding extra salt to foods while eating. At restaurants, chefs will skip or cut back on salt if you ask.

Sea salt, rock salt or table salt- is there a difference & which is better?

Rock salt & sea salt are often marketed as being healthier & tastier options and are more expensive than table salt. Please note that all these types of salt are nothing but sodium chloride which means that too much of any of them is not good.

It is argued that sea salt contains more minerals than table salt. However, just because it may contain extra minerals does not mean it is good for you. It is better to get those minerals from a balanced diet than to use an overdose of sea salt.

Table salt is refined to remove impurities. When the salt is being refined minerals such as calcium and potassium are often considered as impurities and so are removed in the refining process.

Since most of the salt that our body needs is already in the foods we buy and no salt is a “healthy” option, the best thing to do is to limit the addition of any extra salt. Commonly available Iodized table salt is good enough.

Des ka namak ho, ya Tata ka.. kam khao to hee achcha hai!

#healthyeating   #hypertension   #reducesalt  #rocksalt  #tablesalt  #seasalt

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Ashwini Bhat

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