Salt makes pretty much everything taste better, so it's hard to resist the urge to put it on whatever meal is in front of you. Yet it feels like we're constantly being warned not to eat too much of it. So what is it that makes salt such a problem?
As this new SciShow video explains, the issue with salt is actually sodium, the compound that makes up regular table salt. According to the dietary guidelines, adults in the U.S. should keep their sodium consumption below 2,300 milligrams per day, a limit that surprisingly few of us actually stick to. That's because sodium isn't just found in table salt — it's hiding in all kinds of delicious processed foods and restaurant meals (including bacon and frozen pizzas).
But putting in the work to keep an eye on how much salt you consume is essential for keeping your circulatory system happy. When you eat sodium, it goes into your blood stream and pulls water out of the surrounding tissues. That causes your blood pressure to go up and those tissues to harden. Over time, this also causes pockets of plaque to form within your blood vessels, which causes them to get narrower.
At that point, your heart has to work much harder to push blood through much smaller vessels. And, down the line, that extra strain can lead to heart disease. Yep, even if you're a young woman, heart health is something you should be aware of. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. and, according to the CDC, a woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds. But young women aren't immune — these conditions can start developing as early as your teens and 20s.
So go ahead and enjoy your bacon, but maybe save it for weekend brunches.