We’re always looking for ways to boost our immune system. The COVID-19 virus made many people focus on immune health more than ever. With the new Delta variant making the rounds, people are again trying to protect themselves. It’s exhausting. As always, we think it’s a case of using common sense, listening to the guidelines in your area and doing your best.
One thing we should all do year-round, regardless of any new viruses, is take care of our immune system. It’s the body’s first line of defense against becoming ill. Getting the right amount of sleep and exercise can boost your immune system. So can a proper diet filled with vitamins and nutrients. But, unfortunately, your diet can also damage your immune system.
New research has found that too much salt can damage your immune system in addition to harming your blood pressure and heart health. Scientists found that high levels of salt in people’s blood can negatively impact the number of white blood cells that fight infections from bacteria and viruses.
Another study on salt’s impact on the body found even more concrete results. That research found that a high salt diet can worsen kidney infections from e. coli. While the first study was just looking at human blood samples, this one looked at live mice with infections. While more research would be needed with people, it’s a worrying result.
The human body needs salt for healthy blood pressure, fluid balance, liver, kidney and heart health. However, our modern diets have too much salt because processed food manufacturers add it to everything. When you are cooking at home, you can use spices to season your food without using much — or any — salt. But it’s hard to avoid when you buy premade foods. Reading labels is a must when you are in the store. You should always purchase brands with as little sodium as possible and try to cook at home as often as you can.
The daily recommended amount of salt is one teaspoon or 2,300mg. As you would imagine, most of us go far beyond that. Avoiding it as much as possible is a good step toward hitting the correct amount. You do need salt to help your body perform at its best. But, as too much causes so much harm to your heart, blood pressure and immune system, working toward eating the correct amount is an essential goal.