Top reasons to cut down on your salt intake

Singaporeans are consuming more salt than they should and Minister of State for health said the findings of the survey were "a cause for concern". In general, men were found to consume about 9.6g a day, while women consumed about 7.1g a day which is more than 60 per cent above the recommended level of 5g a day for adults. This is particularly important in Singapore, because "6 in 10 people actually eat out at least four times a week".

Could cutting salt intake reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia?

A low salt diet may improve conditions such as anxiety, irritability, depression, fatigue and migraine headache the findings of an investigation of a low salt diet for “insomnia and tension states” was published in the Journal of the American Association in 1945 (1). Patients with “pronounced insomnia, nervous tension, anxiety and increased emotional liability” were instructed to follow a low salt diet with striking results.

After just four to seven days of the low salt diet the “majority of patients began to exhibit a gradual decline in nervous tension, activity drive and restlessness, accompanied by an increased ability to fall asleep and general improvement in the character of sleep.

It was noted that subjects “tended to retire at an earlier hour, usually falling asleep within ten to fifteen minutes and sleeping soundly until wakened at 6am.” Over a period of weeks the low salt diet also improved blood pressure, brain wave activity and concentration while reducing emotional reactivity and vivid dreaming.

What action can YOU take?
  1. Start from the food that you eat- excess salt and sugar damage the blood vessels, leading to decreased blood flow. Excess saturated fat and trans fat can clog veins and arteries and impede circulation. In order to improve poor blood circulation, avoid canned foods and deep-fried foods, which often contain trans fats. When your circulation improves, the quality of your sleep will improve.
  2. Exercise- to get rid of toxins and calories by sweating and thereby eliminating salt.
  3. Drink plenty of water- removes the toxins by flushing it out of the body.

Miller, M. Low sodium chloride intake in the treatment of insomnia and tension states. JAMA. 1945. 129; 4: 262-266.

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