Consuming too much salt can have several health risks, including:
1. High Blood Pressure: Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.
2. Heart Disease: High sodium intake can contribute to the development of heart disease by raising blood pressure and causing damage to blood vessels.
3. Stroke: Elevated blood pressure from excess salt can increase the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels in the brain.
4. Kidney Problems: A high-sodium diet can strain the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney stones and reduced kidney function.
5. Fluid Retention: Salt can cause the body to retain excess water, leading to bloating and edema (swelling).
6. Osteoporosis: Some research suggests that excessive salt intake may lead to calcium loss from bones, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
7. Stomach Cancer: High salt intake, particularly from salt-preserved foods, has been associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.
To maintain good health, it’s important to consume salt in moderation and be mindful of hidden sources of sodium in processed foods and restaurant meals. The recommended daily sodium intake varies by age and health status but is generally advised to be less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) for most adults.