SALT CAN BREAK YOUR HEART

Take care.

Woman's Era - - Contents - Sudha Har­i­ha­ran

The body’s need for sodium (not the taste­buds’ need) is low – at about 5 g of Nacl (sodium chlo­ride – or salt, as we know it) per day. This is just a tea­spoon. Nacl is about 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chlo­ride.

An ex­cess of salt can con­trib­ute to hy­per­ten­sion, es­pe­cially in those who have a ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion to­wards it. A gy­ne­col­o­gist will tell a preg­nant woman to cut down salt in­take, to pre­vent preg­nancy; in­duced hy­per­ten­sion, a po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing prob­lem that is on the rise to­day.

The body needs sodium to main­tain its bal­ance avail­able from na­ture it­self. Eggs, for in­stance, have 80 mg of sodium in 100 g (about 2 eggs). Now, here’s what hap­pens when you add salt: there is 2 mg of sodium in 100 g of peanuts. When you add salt, this goes up to 790 mg!

Re­mem­ber, all we need is 2 g or less of sodium a day. “Yet, most In­dian house­holds con­sume up to 10 gm of salt a day.”

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) ad­vo­cates a re­duc­tion in sodium in­take to re­duce blood pres­sure and risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, stroke and coro­nary heart dis­ease.

What we must do?

Re­move salt from the ta­ble, re­strict salty foods such as pick­les and cheese. Be con­scious of pack­aged and tinned foods, and keep them to the min­i­mum. If you eat non-vege­tar­ian foods, let it be fresh fish and meat, rather than pro­cessed meats. Be con­scious about how much you are adding to a dish. Mea­sure it out, rather than us­ing your fin­gers.

Foods rich in potas­sium, such as beet­root, potato, sweet potato, ba­nana, broc­coli, leafy veg­eta­bles, lentils, help to bal­ance salt in­take, so it is a good idea to keep them in your diet.

The ex­cep­tions

Those with low blood pres­sure must check with their doc­tors about salt in­take. Also, sports­peo­ple who may be work­ing out in hot, hu­mid con­di­tions for long pe­ri­ods, as sodium is a part of the ex­tra-cel­lu­lar fluid that acts as an elec­trolyte. Or those who spend long hours out­doors – at a con­struc­tion site, for in­stance. Gen­er­ally, the body does de­velop the abil­ity to con­serve sodium, but if you are drink­ing more than 3 litres of wa­ter a day and are out ex­er­cis­ing rig­or­ously, do check with a doc­tor if you need a salt recharge.

THE WORLD HEALTH OR­GAN­I­SA­TION (WHO) AD­VO­CATES A RE­DUC­TION IN SODIUM IN­TAKE TO RE­DUCE BLOOD PRES­SURE AND RISK OF CAR­DIO­VAS­CU­LAR DIS­EASE, STROKE AND CORO­NARY HEART DIS­EASE.

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