If you're anything like us, you love salt with all your heart. And even though you know it isn't very healthy for said heart, it's the size of a grain of sand, so how bad can it really be? In this article from Prevention, urologist Mehran Movassaghi, MD, reminds us that a sodium-heavy diet can actually lead to really serious issues, such as high blood pressure. Luckily there are physical signs that warn us to lay off the salt before more dangerous issues arise (bloated body, pounding head, and a mouth drier than the Sahara…). This list isn't as catchy as the Pepto Bismol jingle, but that's because we're here to talk about signs and solutions to sodium overload.
First of all, salt is dehydrating, so too much of it will throw off your body's equilibrium. Dr. Movassaghi explains this is because our bodies cannot "maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes" when we eat too much salt. So if you're experiencing dry mouth, a high-sodium diet is probably the culprit. Your dehydration can also manifest itself in the form of a migraine.
According to this study published in BMJ, a leading medical journal, people who consume a lot of salt are way more likely to suffer from headaches. So if you feel a throbbing sensation in your frontal lobe soon after snacking on salty popcorn, it's not a coincidence. And lastly, look out for a tight waistband or ring, as swelling and bloating are usually an indication of too much salt. This is because dehydration triggers water retention.
So how should you cure these salt-induced symptoms? The solution doesn't get any simpler: Just drink more water, advises Dr. Movassaghi. When it comes to prevention, avoid processed foods, cured meats, cheese, and refined carbs. If you like to cook, get creative with new spices and seasonings.
What are your favorite low-sodium meals and snacks? Sound off in the comments below!