SALT, or more specifically the mineral sodium which is found in salt, is necessary for specific body functions.
However, for those who have high blood pressure (hypertension), it is generally recommended that they do not have more than half teaspoon of salt per day.
In fact, everyone should be paying attention to their salt intake because too much salt in your diet can have a negative impact on your overall health.
March 9-15 and March 12 are Salt Awareness Week and World Kidney Day, respectively, according to a release from the Jamaica Moves team. Salt in the diet and kidney function are linked.
Jamaica Moves is the country's coordinated national response to the increased incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Through education, engagement, and the building of supportive environments, the campaign said it hopes to reduce NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025.
Here are four things you should know about excess salt and how it can negatively impact your overall health:
1. Too much salt in the diet can lead to poor kidney function.
The kidneys use sodium and other minerals to help remove extra fluid and toxins from the blood. However, when there is too much salt in your diet, it stops the kidneys from effectively carrying out this function.
As a result, extra fluids remain in the blood, and eventually, normal excretion or urination may also be disrupted. This fluid imbalance may lead to kidney disease and kidney disease may lead to end-stage kidney failure, which is life altering and expensive to manage.
2. Excess fluid in the blood, caused by too much salt, can lead to high blood pressure.
The extra fluids in the blood, that the kidneys cannot remove, put pressure on the blood vessels (arteries), which are the channels that help to move blood around the body. This may lead to high blood pressure (hypertension).
Hypertension, which is often referred to as “the silent killer”, is so called because most people usually have no symptoms.
High blood pressure is dangerous because it is linked to a number of life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attacks.
3. High blood pressure, over a long period of time, can damage the blood vessels or arteries.
In some instances, the passageway inside the blood vessels gets smaller or the blood vessels can be blocked or clogged. This is particularly dangerous for those blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to vital organs such as the heart and the brain.
If these blood vessels rupture or become blocked, there may be serious effects, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
4. A diet high in salt has also been linked to overstimulation of the immune system.
This overstimulation of the immune system has been linked to autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis.
Try to reduce your salt intake today by cooking with less salt, limiting or avoiding processed foods, limiting the intake of salty snacks, paying attention to food labels, and generally paying attention to the amount of salt in your diet. This will reduce your risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and a number of other life-threatening diseases.