It is one of those things that you don’t even think about, but chances are you are eating way too much salt.
We add a pinch here, a sprinkle there, and even when we aren’t adding it ourselves, the companies responsible for prepackaged foods do it for us.
While a lot of us take a quick look at the calories, carbohydrates, or fat content of a snack, most of us skip over the rest of the nutritional information.
The line we are all ignoring is the sodium levels. It’s so much more important to watch the amount of salt you ingest if you want to keep your heart healthy, but how do you know when enough is enough?
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day, but the United States Department of Agriculture is more forgiving, saying you can have up to 2300 mg. Every person is different, so how do you know when you’ve had too much?
Your body will give you signs of when it has had too much, and you may not even realize that it has been telling you this for a while. These are the most common symptoms of excessive sodium:
1. Frequent trips to the bathroom
If you find that you are always having to pee, it might actually be because there is too much sodium in your body.
Not only does it make you have to go, it’ll make the urine darker and thicker than it should be. When this happens, your body is actually losing calcium.
As we all know, losing calcium is really bad for your body and can lead to problems with your bones like osteoporosis.
2. Too many cravings
The type of food you crave can actually give you an indication as to whether or not you’ve been eating too much salt.
If you find you are constantly craving salty foods, it’s probably because you’ve altered your taste buds. By eating a lot of salt you start to develop a taste for it, so when you do try to eat low-sodium options they end up tasting bland.
So pay attention to your cravings. If you’re constantly craving processed meats, chips, or even soup, you are probably getting too much sodium.
3. Unexpected cramps
If your muscles are feeling strained and tighter than usual, it may be because you’ve been a little heavy-handed with the salt shaker.
Your muscles require a balance of sodium to potassium in your system if you want them to work properly. If you start eating too much sodium, you’re going to disrupt that balance and cause your muscles to freak out.
You’ll find that you will get a lot more sore and tense, which will not only cause longer recovery times after workouts, it’ll make you more prone to those sudden cramps we all hate.
4. Constant Headaches
Salt causes the blood vessels in your brain to expand more than they should, which causes that annoying, throbbing pain.