This is a story of salt: The female perspective, your health and the 2.5 million people that die worldwide every single year due to excessive salt consumption.



A story of salt, the outcome, your health & the female picture.
The Science of healthy living.



Let us start from the tail of the end. Because we all know that every good tale comes equipped with an end that makes the rest of the story worth reading.
And as such, the developing story of salt is a story of the roughly 2.5 million deaths around the world which could be prevented each year if global salt consumption was to be reduced below the recommended levels.






But, the ongoing story of salt is also the story of the 200 000 individual girls that end up dead each year in the United States of America due to high blood pressure, one of many health issues and causes of death that excess salt consumption gives rise to.




















music of the day while you are reading our article
Flesh Coffin by Lorna Shore









The make-up of salt: sodium vs potassium.





One ingredient in salt is sodium, and high levels of sodium & salt will always harm you, even if it does not end up killing you. So let us assume that you will not be one of those yearly 2.5 million dead people, but that you will cope with the excess salt consumption and keep on ticking, well, even in that case, the price to pay for that salty deliciousness will still appear in many negative ways.

Higher Blood Pressure
Stroke risk increase
Heart failure happens more frequently
Osteoporosis increase
Higher chance of Stomach Cancer
Kidney Disease is more prevalent.
Kidney Stones happens more frequently
Enlarged Heart Muscle is more common.
Headaches get worse and more frequent.










A steep price to pay for better tasting food, right?.
But, that begs the question, what exactly is that thin red line that defines when salt turns from a health improving and essential daily ingredient to something unhealthy and bad for you?.


















Salt
[ The thin red line ]













Crossing the line of unhealthy salt consumption can be defined as more than 2 grams of sodium per day, and you will usually reach that threshold once you consume an equivalent of more than 5 g salt per day.
So that thin red line of what is unhealthy amounts of salt is not hard to reach at all. 5g per day is a tiny little hill to climb no matter who you are, and that is why it pays to pay attention to how much salt we actually consume on a daily basis.

It is also important to point out that sodium is just one component in salt.
So they are not always 100% in correlation to each other.
Salt, is futher, a natural component in life.
It is a purdy little mineral made up of sodium and chlorine and we have already mined it for thousands of years and counting. In 100grams of salt you will also find potassium, iron, and calcium. So salt is not just sodium and it is not only a bad but deliciously tasty food thing, it is very much essential for our health and longevity that we do eat enough salt, enough but not to much.
But since we are talking about such incredibly small amounts of both sodium and salt before things start going bad, there is no room for you to split hairs and cut corners.
Especially so when matter of fact is that the average person living right now actually consume around 10g of salt per day!.
Cut it down people and improve your health.










Another thing worth mentioning when talking about salt and health is that eating fruit and vegetables mitigates some ( but not all ) of the bad health effects of salty food.
My approach would, of course, be to increase that healthy fruit & vegetables consumption and cut way down on the salt, why half ass it is my thinking when it comes to health and fitness and healthy living. Especially when it costs zero energy, time and money to cut down on the salt that you are consuming.
As such, eating less salt really has to be one of the easiest and most beneficial health choices ever to implement.








But equally important is that simple fact that eating more fruit and potassium rich food will help protect and fortify our health from things such as high blood pressure. So you really should think twice on cutting down on fruit and greens just so you can afford one more salted burger.
Do it the other way around instead.











Some obvious salty food choices include ready made meals, and meat like bacon, ham and salami and store & restaurant bought BBQ chicken.
Other less obvious products include milk and other dairy products, fish and bird meat, which all contain natural amounts of salt even if you do not add a single grain of salt.
But you can also find plenty of salt in bread and various cereals.
Excess salt can also show up in soy sauce and fish sauce, and even in some hot chocolate products. In truth, salt is everywhere we look, and since you will cross that thin red line as quickly as 5 grams per day, it is important that you consider even small amounts of salt in the food you buy and cook.





For instance, one L ( 1000g ) of sugar-free yoghurt comes with roughly 1gram of salt. But considering how healthy and sound sugar-free yoghurt is for you, that is one gram of salt you should not cut out.
100g of the store-bought bread you eat usually contains anything between 0.5 and 1 gram of salt. And that is perhaps a food choice that you could totally do without. Depending on how good you are at filling up your nutrients otherwise.
100g of raw fiber enriched oat grain, less than 0.01g of salt. ( all while being very rich in protein and sugar-free quality carbs )
100g of Casein protein powder ( lactose-free ) will provide you with roughly 0,9g salt while providing you with 70+ grams of quality protein free of lactose and bad health stuff.
350g of Store/restaurant purchased pizza can contain as much as 5g of salt.






Not all salt we eat is bad tho, it is the way it is with a lot of things in life, we need some of it to maintain optimal health, we just have to make sure that we do not consume excess amounts of it. Salt is, for instance important for maintaining optimal and functional nerve and cell behaviour and control in your body.
But for such a potent thing as salt, the difference between the two opposing states of what is essential and health improving amounts and excessive and damaging is pretty slim to say the least.







So settle for the natural amount of salt you already get in your food such as fish and sugar-free dairy products such as yoghurt, and make the informed choice of avoiding adding additional salt in the food you cook. You should also avoid buying food in stores and restaurants where the amount of salt is excessive.

5 grams per day, that is your upper limit as a healthy adult, all while the lower limit depends on who you are.
Healthy adults that keep fit and active actually need more minimum salt per day than a sedentary adult to remain healthy. So my general advice for healthy adults is to simply make sure you do not consume more than 5g per day, and if you level out at 3 or 4, that does not matter, just do not cut out all salt in your food, you need some to remain healthy. And the more serious you are about keeping fit and active the more that lower, essential amount actually go up, so as a healthy adult that hopefully enjoy being fit and active, stick to anything between 2.5 and 5gram of salt per day and worry no more about it.
Bottom line is that that upper limit of 5 gram per day is the limit 2.5 million people per year wish they really would have paid attention to.









But having said that, kids and old people, and very petite adult girls and very sedentary living people are as always a bit less tolerant than healthy adults that keep fit and active, making it even more crucial for those groups to keep an educated eye on the amounts of salt they consume, perhaps in individual cases even making it necessary going further down below 5 grams per day as the daily max, I am saying that even tho some studies have shown that older people ( 70 to 80-year-old ) do not reap much, if any, additional health benefits from going as low as 1.5 grams per day compared to 3, 4 or 5.









But the important takeaway is that we all keep our salt intake below 5 grams per day.
5 g/day is the real thin red line of daily salt consumption no matter who you are, but for some folks, taking it down an extra gram or two might be beneficial/needed, but for healthy adults that keep fit and active, as long as you do not add further salt to your food and you are well educated in the food you buy and cook, getting enough, but not to much salt ( 5 g/day) should really not be an issue.
Just be aware that people, in general actually consume 10g of salt per day, and as such, chances are pretty high that you too eat way more salt than you should.






Finally.
WHO participating countries have agreed to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by 30% until 2025, but not enough is being done from the side of the food producers and restaurants, so as always, you are the one that will have to make the informed health improving choices when it comes down to what you cook and buy.


And if you are looking for a less serious, but still real reason to cut down on your own daily salt intake, do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and absolutely have to hit the bathroom to pee?.
Reality is that the more salt you consume, the bigger the need and risk for those nightly bathroom visits. The science behind it is dead simple, the more salt we consume, the more our body gets triggered to get rid of fluids. Cut down on the salt and witness how the frequency of your nightly bathroom visits will go down in equal measures. A small but still positive change for both health and your personal quality of life situation.
















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Writer and photography

Mike Koontz
To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

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