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What happens if you eat too much salt?

Salt helps the body to conduct nerve impulses, relax muscles, and maintain the balance of water and minerals. You only need a small amount of salt – about 500 mg for essential body functions.

However, we may all be consuming more salt than the daily recommended amount because salt is often found in breads, canned foods, chips, salad dressings and many other foods.

Used to flavor and preserve foods, salt is present in nearly every processed food, and the side effects of eating too much salt can be very dangerous.

What happens if you eat too much salt?  - first

Excess salt intake can increase the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, kidney complications and heart attacks. (Image: Pixabay)

Dr Sanjay Kumar, Head of Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, explained the short and long term complications of eating too much salt.

Short-term effects

Swelling or water retention in the body

Dr. Kumar says the feeling of bloating can happen because the kidneys retain water to maintain the water-sodium ratio in the body. This leads to swelling in the hands and face.


Increased blood volume due to water retention leads to increased blood pressure. This is especially evident in people who are sensitive to salt.

Feeling thirsty, having trouble breathing

According to experts, dry mouth leads to drinking more water to maintain the water-sodium ratio. Other effects include restlessness, difficulty breathing, convulsions, decreased urination.

Long-term effects

Stomach cancer

Eating a lot of salt in the long run leads to a 2-3 times higher risk of stomach cancer due to recurrent ulcers and the growth of H-Pylori bacteria.

Heart disease and premature death

High blood pressure causes hardening of the arteries, leading to a higher risk of heart disease and early death. More research is needed on this as some individual studies have also shown that lower salt intake may be harmful to the heart.

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