Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
Salt is in many of the foods we consume, even if you don’t necessarily realize it. What’s worse is that consuming too much salt could increase your risk of kidney disease, dementia, stroke, high blood pressure, and even heart attack. If you wanted to cut back on the salt, what would happen to your body?
By quitting salt, you can expect the following bodily benefits:
- A potential lowered risk of death
- Reduced salty cravings
- Less frequent headaches
- Lowered chance of getting stomach cancer
- Fewer trips to the bathroom
- Lower weight as you shed water weight
- Better blood pressure, possibly preventing stroke and heart attack
Wait, you can really reap the above perks just by quitting salt? Even if you only start with cutting back, your body will thank you for it. Keep reading, as we will explain more the perks of going saltless in this article.
What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Salt
Lowered Risk of Death
You knew salt was bad for you, but could it really be that it it’s slowly killing you? It’s very likely. In this study from The New England Journal of Medicine published in 2011, it was proven that by cutting out 1,200 daily milligrams of salt that you could avoid a lot of health issues.
For instance, the researchers reported less death “from any cause” (92,000 fewer deaths) as well as lowered deaths from myocardial infarctions (99,000 fewer deaths), strokes (66,000 fewer deaths), and coronary heart disease (120,000 fewer deaths).
Bye-Bye, Salt Cravings
When an average craving strikes, if you eat that food, the craving tends to go away, right? Not so much with salt. It’s almost like caffeine in that at first, a little is enough, but it doesn’t stay that way. Just like you now can’t leave the house in the morning without your prerequisite three cups of coffee, you find yourself needing more and more salt.
That’s because sensitization of the taste buds occurs with regular salt consumption and certainly with overconsumption. You can barely even taste the salt you’re eating, so you ramp up your intake until you can. Your salt threshold can keep increasing and increasing, doing your health zero favors as it does.
Once you begin eating less salt, if you do enjoy any in the future, you won’t need nearly as much as you used to. In fact, if you return to your prior salt-heavy diet, you’ll find all that food tastes gross! It’s much too salty for you now.
Lowered Rate of Headaches
Fewer things can derail your day faster than a headache. If you’ve started to feel like you get more headaches than the average person, it’s time to look to your diet. A Johns Hopkins study from 2014 included nearly 400 participants, some of who ate less sodium over 30 days and others who continued consuming salt normally.
Of the ones eating salt, sometimes it was “intermediate” and other times it was higher quantities. What the researchers found was that those who ingested less salt–not even necessarily no salt at all–didn’t suffer from as many headaches as regular salt eaters.
Reduced Stomach Cancer Risk
While the link between eating salt and the possible development of stomach cancer isn’t well understood, it does exist. It’s believed that your body produces more gut bacteria with the more salt you eat, and that this could be what increases your risk of stomach cancer.
Fewer Bathroom Trips
Do you go to the bathroom a lot, maybe even more than your friends and family? You may wonder why this is. The reason may surprise you: it’s salt!
Salt on its own does not increase your need to urinate; we need to get that out of the way first. What does happen is that salt dries you out, causing you to feel thirsty at best and leading to dehydration at worst. You end up reaching for more drinks to compensate, often without realizing it. Thus, you drink more and end up going to the bathroom as frequently as you currently do.
Try reducing your sodium intake and see how much less time you spend in the bathroom.
If you’re trying to lose weight, one area of your diet you should focus on is your salt consumption. Not only are a lot of salty foods processed and calorically high, but they push your water weight up, too.
Water weight is indeed water, which your kidneys retain in higher quantities as you increase amount of salt you eat. As you stop ingesting so much salt, your kidneys don’t feel the need to keep so much water, causing that water weight to disappear.
We don’t want to downplay the value of quitting salty snacks and foods, as these will cause your weight to lower besides mere water weight. After all, if a food is high in sodium, chances are it also contains a lot of carbohydrates and added sugars, neither of which are great for your waistline.
Better Blood Pressure for a Healthier Heart
Controlling your blood pressure is paramount, yet eating too much salt can cause yours to fly sky-high. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension and high blood pressure, scaling back on all that salt can work so well that some people who have tried the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet have been able to reduce their reliance on blood pressure medications.
When you lower your blood pressure, your risk of cardiovascular disease goes down, as do your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. In fact, data suggests that as many as 47 percent of patients with heart disease and 54 percent of those with strokes may have hypertension to blame for it.
Tips for Cutting Back on Your Salt Consumption
The above benefits all sound amazing, and you’d love to stop eating salt like yesterday, but it’s sadly not always that easy. If you’re struggling with dropping salt from your diet, check out these helpful tips.
- Decide why you’re doing this: What will a saltless diet do for your life? Will it help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or avoid a heart attack? Whatever that goal is, keep it in mind as you proceed.
- Don’t quit it all overnight: You’ve eaten salt probably your entire life to this point. Your body craves it, and you may even be addicted to it. Like any addiction, quitting cold turkey will rarely work. Begin scaling back day by day.
- Set small goals: Maybe on your first day of a salt-free diet, you aim to cut out one salty snack. Then you begin using other natural herbs and spices for flavoring instead of salt. Then you stop eating all processed salty foods, and so on and so forth. Having goals like this gives you something to work towards.
- Use a salt substitute: Many salt, oil, and sugar-free or SOS-free vegans trust in salt substitutes. You can try these, too. They taste like salt but without the sodium content.
- Expect setbacks: There are going to be days where the cravings are too much for you and you cave and have too much salt. It happens. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day. Dust yourself off and start again.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen to your body if you cut back on all the salt you eat, it’s a lot of good things. You can lower your blood pressure, reduce your rate of heart attack and stroke, possibly avoid an early death, and lose some weight. Hopefully, you’re now inspired to kick salt from your life!