Watch Out for Hidden Sources of Salt in Foods!
Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Gülçin Kantarcı, who reminds us that we should consume a maximum of 5 grams or one teaspoon of salt per day for our health, said, "Unfortunately, we often exceed this limit. The most important reason for this is the ready-made foods, which we can call the hidden salt depot."
For the smooth functioning of vital activities, our bodies need elements found in salt. Sodium balances the fluid volume in the body due to its water-retaining property. It is also an essential element for the transmission of nerve cells. "However, to make the most of salt correctly, it is necessary to adjust the amount properly," said Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Gülçin Kantarcı, explaining the key points of healthy salt consumption as follows:
We are consuming three times more than the normal amount
The daily salt requirement for a healthy individual is around 5-6 grams. However, studies have shown that in our country, the daily salt consumption is around 14-18 grams. This means that we consume three times more salt than the normal amount in our country. It is known that salt consumption plays a significant role in the widespread prevalence of hypertension in our country.
How Much Should Children Consume?
Until your child reaches the age of 1, they don't need any additional salt. Babies receive the necessary salt from breast milk up to 6 months. For babies over 1 year old, a small amount of iodized salt can be added, mainly because iodine deficiency is widespread in our country. To prevent the iodine from evaporating, it's best to add the salt to the food after it's been cooked. According to the World Health Organization, the daily salt intake for children between the ages of 2-15 is around 3-4 grams..
What Are Hidden Sources of Salt?
There are many hidden sources of salt in our diets in our country. Pickles, olives, processed animal products all contain salt well above our daily needs. In addition to these, bread, tomato paste, potato chips, instant soup, ready-made yogurt, biscuits, cakes, pastirma (a type of cured beef), salami, sausage, ready-made sauces, roasted nuts, canned foods, as well as processed and frozen foods, contain much more salt than we need. All processed foods, even if they don't taste salty, are hidden sources of salt.
What Problems Does Excess Salt and Salt Deficiency Lead To?
With the increase in salt consumption, high blood pressure has become a common disease worldwide. Swelling and obesity are conditions that arise with the increase in both hidden and overt salt consumption. In individuals with heart failure and kidney failure, salt consumption can lead to life-threatening and serious problems. Therefore, it is beneficial for all hypertension patients to restrict salt intake as it can lower blood pressure. Restricting salt can normalize blood pressure in mild hypertension. To prevent and treat hypertension, the daily allowable salt intake is 5-6 grams. In kidney problems, especially on the path to kidney failure, salt consumption is of utmost importance. To avoid becoming a candidate for kidney failure, it is essential to start with proper nutrition. Domestic salt consumption is crucial in this regard. When I tell my patients not to consume salt, they often say, "I don't add any salt to my food." However, when I inquire about how the food is prepared, I often find that significant amounts of salt, even as much as a tablespoon, are added to a kilogram of vegetables. Furthermore, it is observed that the salt content reaches high levels when domestic tomato paste or ready-made tomato pastes are used. Therefore, adding salt to food is not solely about the amount used at the table. Additionally, it should not be forgotten that salt is the most significant additive in ready-made foods.
What Does Salt Deficiency Lead To?
In individuals with kidney diseases that cause salt loss and some thyroid disorders, consuming less salt than the required amount can have adverse effects on the nervous system, the cardiac conduction system, and muscles.
Who Should Be Cautious About Salt Consumption?
People who have been proven to lose salt through urine without using diuretic medication, individuals working in hot environments and sweating, and those engaging in strenuous sports like marathon runners should not restrict their salt intake and should consume an appropriate amount of salt to replace what they've lost.
Which Salt is Beneficial?
All salts containing the sodium chloride element have the same effect and the same adverse effects.
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