Salt: How Much is too Much for Consumption?

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Thai Restaurant Nairobi [Image courtesy: Sarova Hotels]

No one is oblivious to the fact that food without salt is outright tasteless and unfriendly to the tongue. While this may also depend on what levels of salt your taste buds are used to, salt consumption should be handled cautiously just to make sure you do not exceed the required amounts for the body in a day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report in 2017 about the levels of salt consumption in the world. The East (Asia) led in salt consumption with rates of 4.3 g daily. They were followed by Western countries with a consumption rate of 4.0 g. Seven African countries including Kenya had considerable limits on salt consumption.

Such a report gives a sigh of relief, especially to Kenyans, given the rising trends of salt consumption in the world. Chances are high that such increased salt intakes in other parts of the world stem from the consumption of manufactured and processed foods that contain high levels of salt.

There is more reason for you to watch your salt consumption. Given the amounts, you consume from processed foods unknowingly, you don’t want to touch the salt shaker. Salt is beneficial to the body because of its Sodium and Chloride content but it becomes unhealthy when its consumed beyond desirable levels.

Natural foods such as milk, eggs, meat are said to contain Sodium as well. Great salt consumption stems from consuming 75% Sodium in processed foods.

According to the American Heart Association, daily safe salt levels for your body should oscillate between 1.5 g and 2.3 g at most. The amounts for your daily consumption include

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 0.575 g sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1.15 g sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1.7 g sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2.3 g sodium

If your daily consumption exceeds 2.3 g then you risk falling victim to cardiovascular diseases that are aggravated by increased salt consumption.

All said it is also true that high blood pressure is not only caused by too much consumption of salt but other factors such as heredity, age and gender. Add to that your sedentary lifestyle and your goose is cooked.

There is also danger in low salt intakes. Sodium accounts for 40% of salt content. In the event that your body lacks Sodium, it develops complications related to underactive thyroid, heart failure and small intestine blockage. You are better sticking with reasonable levels of 1.2 g salt consumption per day.

One surefire way to cut and strike a balance on your salt consumption levels is to stop eating out. You are better off preparing your own meals. Also, avoid processed foods that are known to contain high salt levels. Some breads are known to be taste more salty than others.

 

 

 

 

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