Reduce salt to improve heart health, advises Dr Suresh Agrawal. The tiny granules can make your food taste so good, and too much can raise your blood pressure too high. If you reduce your salt intake for longer, you are likely to see a larger fall in your blood pressure.
We know that Life on Earth began in the Sea, that means organisms were surrounded by sea water – rich in salt or Sodium Chloride. Since then salt has lived outside of cells in all organisms forming extra cellular fluids. The complex mechanisms in cells prevents entry of Sodium beyond requirements.
The habitual use of salt is intimately connected with the advance from primitive, nomadic lifestyles, agriculture-based life – a step in civilization which influenced the rituals and cults of almost all ancient nations.
Table salt or Sodium Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral essential for animal life. Saltiness is one of the five basic human tastes, in addition to sweetness, sourness, bitterness and savoury. It plays a crucial role in maintaining human health, it provides Sodium and Chloride in the human diet.
We need about 5 gm of dietary salt in our food every day, that’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. On an average, Indians consume about 10 to 12 gm of salt per day, consumption of salt differs in our society depending on food habits.
The majority of the salt we eat is hidden in spicy foods, pickles, papad, processed and packaged foods and most people aren’t aware that the amount they are consuming is raising their blood pressure.
Blood pressure in human body is determined by cardiac output — blood pumped out by heart during each its cycle and resistance offered by arteries.Those who have diseased kidneys in them BP will rise much earlier as kidneys is unable to remove extra salt.
Whenever a person consumes more salt than the requirement, the kidneys try to flush out extra salt by increasing its filtration rate. This is achieved by increasing pressure in blood vessels inside each kidney and by decreasing sodium re-absorption.
Human body cannot live without sodium. It is needed to transmit nerve impulses across all nerve fibers – contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers in human body including those in heart and blood vessels and maintain a proper fluid balance. Hence it becomes essential to reduce salt intake for our wellbeing. It may take while to reset your taste buds to get used to that lower-salt diet, but you can really make up for any flavour deficits by using more spices or more herbs.
Let us spread the motto ‘Ek Chammach Namak Kum’ or ‘One Less Spoon of Salt’ from our daily food.