In the past decade or so, excess salt and sodium intake has been blamed for a variety of serious health conditions plaguing our country, such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Much debate has centered around determining the level of dietary salt required to maintain optimal health, but over the years the suggested upper limit has continued to shrink. Small amounts of salt are essential for our health. Adults need less than 1 gram per day and children need even less. As a nation we are all eating approximately 8.1g of salt per day, far more than we need and more than the recommended maximum of 6g per day, putting us at risk of all of these health problems. Here are three health conditions which can be caused by high salt intake:
* Blood pressure is the amount of pressure that blood puts on your blood vessel walls as it is pumped around the body. Certain factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise and, in particular, a high salt diet can raise your blood pressure, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
* A stroke usually occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain, causing cells to die. Salt is a major factor in increasing high blood pressure.
* Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition which causes thinning of bones, making them brittle and prone to breaking. Most calcium in the body is stored in bones. A high salt diet can cause calcium to be lost from bones and excreted in the urine, making bones weak and brittle.