Sodium chloride, or table salt, is the thing most of us reach for when we want to flavor food. Aside from making our food more tasty, it is important for our health. Sodium helps regulate blood flow and pressure and helps transmit messages between nerves and muscle fibers. Getting enough sodium is crucial to your digestive system and for maintaining the fluid balance within your cells. But eating too much salt is bad for our health as it can cause serious damaging effects. Here are four side effects that happen to your body when you eat too much salt.
1. High Blood Pressure: This is a side effect that usually happens to people who are consuming too much salt over a long period of time. Related to its role in maintaining blood volume, sodium can also cause blood pressure to rise. When the sodium level in your blood is high that causes your blood volume to become higher because your kidneys excrete less water to dilute the sodium in your body. The increase in blood volume raises blood pressure. Moreover, long-term overindulgence of sodium can damage the walls of your blood vessels and predispose you to develop high blood pressure or hypertension.
2. Your Cognitive Function May Reduce Over Time: According to a Canadian study conducted in 2011, a diet high in sodium affected cognitive function in sedentary older adults. While the exact reasons why salt could negatively affect the brain aren’t quite known, researchers recommended exercise as a means of counterbalancing the effects.
3. You Get Dehydrated: Most people associate eating too much salt with water retention; but if you aren’t well-hydrated when the salt enters your body, you may soon experience symptoms of dehydration. The extra sodium needs water to balance it out, so without sufficient water in your diet, your body will pull water from with your cells. This can lead to extreme thirst, dizziness, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps as your system is unable to rid itself of excess sodium.
4. You Might Get a Stomach Ulcer: According to a study published in the journal Gut, scientists studied individuals across eight different countries and found that excessive salt intake was directly correlated with gastric ulcers in the stomach. These ulcers are thought to be a result from metaplasia, a process in which healthy tissue turns sour, affecting the mucous lining of the tummy.
And the worst part is that if you continue to consume high salt intake, all those ulcer issues could eventually turn into stomach cancer. In 1996, the International Journal of Epidemiology published a study proving that both men and women who died from stomach cancer were linked to very high salt consumption throughout their lives.