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How to Spot Signs of Salt Overload

By Sandy Schroeder

Salt bagels or salted fries are naturals that we all enjoy sometimes, but extra doses of sodium on a regular basis can cause bloating and water retention.

Recently Women’s Health posted a few signals to let us know when we need to hide the salt shaker. It is also important to remember processed or man-made foods may contain high sodium levels.

Current dietary guidelines recommend 2,300 milligrams of sodium (one teaspoon) per day, while most Americans average about 3,400 milligrams daily (about 1 1/3 teaspoons).

When you check labels in the market, five percent or less is considered low-sodium, while 20 percent or more is considered high sodium content.

Watch for Signs of Excess Salt

Balance your system with water, and avoid other salty foods.

Intense thirst - Salt is needed to maintain a water balance in the body. Extreme thirst is a signal that there is not enough water to support the sodium in the system.

Pounding headaches – Suddenly your head hurts, and salt may be the demon, causing blood vessels in the brain to expand.

Extreme bloat – After a really salty meal, bloating can occur in the belly, fingers, toes or ankles.  Excess sodium followed by excess water to balance it out can lead to uncomfortable bloating.

Food tastes bland – When you get used to eating salty foods, other foods may lose their appeal. This can work in reverse, too. When you stop eating oversalted foods, regular foods may taste much better. Later, if you have a salty food such as fries, they may taste way too salty.

Ways to Cut Back on Salt

Avoid salt targets – Cold cuts and cured meats, bread and rolls, sandwiches, fast food burgers, pizza, canned soups and processed frozen chicken, such as chicken nuggets are loaded with sodium.

Eat at home – Take out and restaurant meals tend to come with lots of salt showing up in gravies, meats, vegetables, potatoes and soups. Buy fresh whole foods and cook with little salt.

Find other seasonings – There’s a whole range of flavors out there that can be used in place of salt. Use dried or fresh herbs and lemon juice and vinegar to find the flavors you enjoy most. Rosemary, basil, oregano, garlic, red pepper, black pepper, sage, and tarragon are just a few of the many choices to sample. Use a recipe site like to find recipes to try out your choices.

Shed excess salt – When you are using canned foods, look for “no-salt-added” or “low-sodium” labels. Or rinse off the contents before using.

As you get used to lowering your salt intake, you may discover how much better foods taste, and how much better your body feels, without excess salt.

If you have ongoing bloat or excess thirst, check with your doctor to pin down additional causes.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Coppell, Tex.

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