It is difficult to imagine Polish cuisine without salt. It is one of the basic ingredients that gives food flavor. We are so accustomed to using it that we do not think about the consequences of this habit for our body
Positive and negative effects of salt on the body
Salt in the body plays an important role. The presence of sodium is necessary to regulate the body’s water balance. It is responsible for the state of hydration of cells and tissues. It affects the so-called excitability of nerve and muscle cells. Moreover, together with potassium, it is responsible for maintaining proper osmotic pressure in blood and protects the body against excessive fluid loss.
Excessive salt intake leads to a number of negative consequences such as increased blood pressure, the risk of heart attack or brain stroke. It can also cause edema caused by water retention in the body, increased water loss from urine, kidney overload and associated kidney stone formation, and liver dysfunction. Excess sodium in the body also contributes to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, dementia, osteoporosis and cancers such as the very common stomach cancer.
We supply salt to our bodies not only when we reach for the salt shaker during a meal. Salt is also in cold meats, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, margarine, smoked fish, soup concentrates, sauces and fast food snacks, chips, salted sticks and nuts. Salt is also in bread (1 slice of bread has half a gram of salt). It is also in spice mixes, stock cubes, and vegetable cubes. Be careful that the prepared dish is not over-salted, because it will exceed the recommended daily salt intake. WHO recommends eating less than 5 grams/day (1 teaspoon).
The absence of health problems related to hypertension does not mean that we can consume salt without any restrictions. People who are considered healthy should exercise moderation when reaching for this ingredient, while people struggling with abnormal blood pressure, if they cannot give it up completely, must not forget to consume it in minimal amounts
Healthy salt substitutes
If you eat healthy, you do not have to give up salt. You can replace regular rock salt with sea salt. Both have the same properties, and the only thing that differs is the taste. Sea salt reduces the presence of sodium in the body. It comes in a coarse-grained version, so use it carefully. When seasoning dishes, try to use a little less than regular salt. You can also choose a version with a grinder, which will make its dosage much easier. Pay attention to Himalayan salt, which is considered the healthiest and cleanest. It is pink because of the large number of chemical elements (84 minerals). It has valuable properties – removes toxins from the body and relieves intestinal ailments. Low-sodium salts include potassium and magnesium salt.
Salt substitutes, which will diversify our meals, are such products as: fresh or dried vegetables, e.g. basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, coriander, marjoram and spice vegetables – paprika, garlic, parsley, dill and chives
Make it a good habit to read the labels and composition of products, which is always placed on the package. This will allow you to control the amount of sodium delivered to the body
Salt in excess harms health, so it is worth replacing it with other spices, and also resign from highly processed foods.