Stress : Salt May Increase Stress Levels

If you are suffering from hypertension or excessive stress, you may be consuming too much salt. Dietitians in the city claim that nearly 90% of the people consume 40 per cent more sodium chloride than the amount required per day. This excessive sodium chloride intake leads to problems like oedema, hypertension and renal failure in the long run.

On an average, the body requires a minimum of 2.5 gm and a maximum of 6 gm of salt intake per day. However, on an average 90 per cent of the people consume 10 gm of salt per day, which affects their health.

"Merely 6 gm of sodium chloride intake is required every day to remain fit. However, an average person consumes more than 10 gm of added salt, which leads to ailments including cardiac problems and hypertension. One must restrict salt intake to a maximum of 6 gm per day to avoid ailments," said Dr Geeta Dharmatti, president of Indian Dietetics Association, Pune chapter.

Excess of dietary sodium chloride intake affects the kidney function in the long run. It is also one of the reasons for developing oedema, which is abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body and leads to swelling. "Sodium chloride needs to be filtered by the kidney for excretion and excess of salt consumption may cause renal failure too. Excess salt also causes fluid retention, which may cause swelling of the body especially in the legs, ankles, hands, feet and abdomen."

"We suggest to patients to limit their added salt intake as a lot of foods are already high in sodium chloride," said Dr Ambika Nair, general secretary, IDA Pune chapter.

Nutritionists suggest controlling the dietary intake of salt as protein-rich foods contain high amount of sodium chloride.

"Protein-rich foods are already high in sodium chloride, so one must be careful while cooking these foods. Also, processed foods have an excess amount of sodium chloride, which acts as preservatives, so one must avoid eating out and consume a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain a balanced diet," said Dr Veena Ekbote, research scientist, Jehangir Medical Research Centre.

Tips to control your sodium chloride intake:

    - Avoid using table salt on already cooked food
    - Avoid eating out and processed food
    - Use sour ingredients like lime and tomatoes, which add taste to less salty food
    - Use rock salt as an alternative, but not regularly
    - Avoid consuming salt with fruits, use lime instead
Credit: Pratiksha Zunke
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