Salt and health - effects on the human body

Salt is omnipresent in our everyday lives and we can no longer imagine life without it. Whether on bread or in pasta water, salt can be used universally and adds spice to our lives.

Without salt, some of our bodily functions could not be maintained. It is therefore not just a great flavor enhancer and raw material, but essential for life. Despite its vital importance, consuming too much salt can be harmful to our health. Here you can find out what function salt actually has in the human body.

Common salt, or table salt, consists mainly of the two minerals sodium and chloride. Most table salt is also enriched with iodine and fluoride. This is to ensure a sufficient supply of iodine in the body, as the trace element iodine is an important building block for the formation of thyroid hormones, which influence physical and mental development. Both sodium and chloride fulfill a number of tasks in the body, such as maintaining the fluid balance of cells, regulating blood pressure and transmitting stimuli from muscle or nerve cells. However, thanks to sodium, salt is also partly responsible for bone formation.

However, too much salt can also be harmful to our bodies. Excessive salt intake can be a cause of poor blood pressure levels or even high blood pressure. High blood pressure can in turn attack or damage many important organs such as the brain, kidneys, blood vessels and the heart. The occurrence of cardiovascular problems is a possible effect of excessive salt consumption.

How much salt is okay? The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends consuming no more than five to six grams of salt a day. Nevertheless, the average salt consumption of Germans is between 6.3 and almost 10 grams per day. The extremely high level of salt consumption in Germany is generated by hidden salts in food. These hidden salts account for as much as 85% of daily salt consumption. Certain foods, such as some types of sausage, meat or cheese, but also baked goods or dairy products, often contain much more salt than we are aware of. However, the highest salt levels are found in ready meals.

If you want to eat healthily and consume less salt, you should therefore follow these steps:

1. wholefood diet: try to cook fresh and increasingly with plant-based foods
2. cooking: Low-water cooking methods preserve food at its most wholesome and retain its own flavor
3. herbs: season with spices and herbs after cooking, then add salt afterwards