Processed foods make up a major part of an average diet and to increase the shelf life of the packaged food, they are heavily loaded with sodium. Table salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride and is used to enhance the flavour of the food. Sodium is an important mineral as it plays an essential role in ensuring optimal muscle and nerve function. Along with chloride, it helps to keep your body well hydrated and maintain stable water and mineral balance.
But just like everything else, too much of anything can be bad for you. Ingestion of high levels of sodium can have short and long-term implications on your body. So how does a high salt diet affect your body? Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Whenever you consume meals that are high in sodium, either through a single meal or through the course of a day, you will immediately notice that you feel bloated. This occurs because your kidneys can maintain only certain water to sodium ratios and anything in excess puts unnecessary strain on your kidneys. This causes your body to retain water to compensate for the extra sodium you ingested. In extreme cases, it can lead to swelling in the hands and feet and can lead to weight gain.
Foods that are high in sodium can cause a large amount of blood to flow through your blood vessels and arteries. Till the time your body does not manage to get rid of the excess levels of sodium from the body, you will experience an increase in your blood pressure. If not controlled, this can lead to hypertension, which makes you more vulnerable to strokes and developing cardiac complications.
Increased risk of cancer:
According to multiple studies, ingesting high levels of salt and sodium foods can lead to stomach cancer. According to research, those consuming 3gms of salt per day stood a risk of developing stomach cancer by a staggering 68%. Since salt can lead to stomach ulcers, which have a much higher probability of turning cancerous if prolonged in same state over a longer time.
So what's the solution?
While it may be hard for many to completely avoid processed foods, reducing your dependence on them can greatly improve your health. Most packaged foods contain empty calories, which will only lead to weight gain and unwanted health issues. Stick to freshly home-cooked meals or healthy snacks such as HYP Protein bars or HYP Protein cookies that are packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, something that your body can utilize. So the next time you crave a bag of chips or farsan, remember, your health is in your hands.