Did you know that almost 90 per cent of the American population consumes more salt than they require? According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the daily sodium limit for an average adult is 2.4 grams, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt – but if you’re eating fast food or Chinese takeout too frequently, chances are that your excessive salt consumption is leading you down a dangerous road.
Salt is Good for You… But Only Under a Certain Limit
We often hear that salt is the enemy of health and must be avoided at all costs, but, in fact, our body requires salt to function properly – the problem arises when our daily salt consumption goes over the daily limit leading to a host of health problems such as bloating, kidney failure and high blood pressure.
The key ingredient in salt, which regulates our blood pressure and keeps our nervous system functioning properly, is sodium. Chloride is another key compound in salt which helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food. It is important that your diet contains the daily recommendation of salt, but like most other things, too much salt can be (very) bad for you.
The Effects of Excessive Sodium Consumption
If you cook your own meals, you probably have a good idea how much salt you’re putting in the food but eating out at restaurants and fast food chains comes at a disadvantage to your health since these places pack their foods with salt to make them tastier; the processed foods in your local grocery store which you consume every day may also contain a ton of salt and other dangerous additives – no wonder 90 per cent of us are going over our daily limit of sodium without even knowing it, and the effects of it are detrimental to health.
Our kidneys, which act as the filtering system for the body, maintain a specific water to sodium ratio which is often disrupted by excessive salt consumption. If your diet contains too much sodium, the kidney retains more water in the system which can lead to unnecessary bloating and too much fluid rushing through the bloodstream which can weaken the arteries and veins over time and increase the blood pressure.
Simple Steps for Detoxing After a High-Sodium Meal
So, how do you recover from an accidental high sodium meal, especially if you’re sensitive to high blood pressure? Thankfully, there is a way to mitigate the damage in a few simple steps.
Drink Enough Water: Water is the best cleanser for purifying your body and flushing out all the unwanted toxins from the system. If you’ve had too many fried egg rolls and wontons at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, chances are that it may take you a few days to recover from the high-sodium binge.
Stick to drinking at least 8 glasses of spring water daily for the next three days to prevent dehydration – which can even occur when your body is bloated. It is important that you choose a flavorless water which is free of sodium and salt. Proper hydration will result in the release of excess water which is trapped in your system due to the sodium imbalance.
Keep your Sodium Consumption Low: While you’re recovering from a high-sodium meal, it’s also best to limit your sodium consumption to 1.5 grams in the next three days to avoid any further damage. This may require you to eat clean, home-cooked meals and read the food labels carefully to calculate how much salt you’re consuming. You can limit the salt in your food by substituting it with other spices such as pepper and garlic.
Eat Less Carbs: When you’re doing your three-day sodium detox, it’s best to steer clear of processed carbs like pasta, bread and other baked goods and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain complex carbohydrates great for flushing out the excess salt. Processed carbs are often the culprit for bloating which is why it is recommended to include more protein like lean meats in your diet.
Break a Sweat: Exercise is also a great way to swear out all the excess sodium and get rid of the bloating within a few days. Perform high intensity aerobic exercises in warm clothes to aid the sweating process. Similarly, you can also choose to do a sauna session every day but make sure to sit in the steamy room for long enough to break a good sweat. Take a cold shower after stepping out of the sauna to wash away the impurities on the skin surface and repeat the process one more time. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated during the process.