Why Less Salt Means Danger For Your Health
The brain needs salt to function well, and lack of it causes confusion, memory loss and in older adults, coma
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Have high blood pressure? Reduce salt. This is the advice you have been listening to forever, making salt the villain in your life and food. And it’s all wrong.
Less salt in the body, or hyponatraemia, is a common condition that no one tells you about. Less salt in the body also means some serious health issues, listed below:
Hypothyroidism. Less salt means less iodine in the body, which leads to thyroid issues. Eighty per cent of urban women and 20-30 per cent urban men face hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland doesn’t function well, leading to bloating, weight gain, fatigue, irregular periods and hair fall. In a country where sea minerals and seaweed, which are natural sources of iodine, are not the staple, iodine from salt is the only way we can get it.
Chronic Fatigue. Less sodium increases lethargy and tiredness, making us sleepy and tired all the time. This is because sodium is an important electrolyte for proper body and kidney function, and absence of it imbalances electrolytes, making us feel tired.
Muscle cramps. Muscle spasms or cramps are a common cause of low sodium. Many people mistake it for low vitamin B12, and muscle cramps are common for those who are on high doses of diuretics for hypertension.
Confusion or brain damage. The brain needs salt to function well, and lack of it causes confusion, memory loss and in older adults, coma. That is because when there is less salt in the brain, water enters it, causing cerebral edema, which is dangerous because the skull cannot expand or drain the water out, and this can lead to brain damage due to the pressure.
Inability to exercise. Building stamina and working out, or going for long walks/jogs requires us to have adequate salt in the body, as it depletes via sweat during exercise. If the salt levels are low, depletion is fast and fatigue sets in, hindering a full work out to take place.
So don’t cut the salt from your diet, limit it and do the following to reduce your blood pressure naturally by reducing your heart rate. This can be done easily with the following lifestyle changes.
Go for a walk. Literally, moderate paced long walks reduce the pressure in your arteries, leading to reduced blood pressure. Effects of lowered blood pressure with regular walks can be seen as soon as two weeks into walking 30 minutes every day.
Reduce your response to stress. Aulom vilom, guided meditation and deep breathing reduce stress within the body. While the stress around you doesn’t disappear, these techniques change your response to stress, making your body calmer.
Drink raw foods. Hate the salad? Juice it. Hate fruits? Juice them. Aim for one water-intense green smoothie and one fruit smoothie every day, and get your raw foods that flush out toxins and reduce blood pressure in a jiffy. Good combinations are cucumber-spinach-coriander (green) and pomegranate-pineapple-orange (fruit).
Eat Vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C lowers blood pressure over a period of time, helping you reduce damage to arteries, relationships and also get your fix of this wonderful anti-oxidant. Vitamin C gets depleted every 6 hours from the human body, so replenishing it is the key. Aim for oranges as part of smoothies, red peppers and broccoli as part of your salad over lunch or dinner and guava or strawberries for your evening snack to get your adequate supply.
Monitor your pulse rate. Get a watch that monitors your pulse rate. A slower resting pulse rate means reduced blood pressure. While you do all the above, monitoring pulse rate is the easiest way to know if it’s working. For a healthy person who exercises moderately, a resting pulse of 62-66 is required.
Do all the above, and then reach for the healthy, yummy, iodine-rich sea salt to be sprinkled over your greens.
Pass me the salt, please.