Although no conclusion has been reached yet on why too much salt might be bad for asthma sufferers, some research has found that an increased amount of salt could make the bronchi (breathing tubes of the lungs) more sensitive to the chemical histamine that triggers the tubes to constrict in asthma.
Salt could also be a factor that causes migraine. Salt causes water retention that results in increased blood pressure and, since a migraine is a vascular headache that is influenced by blood pressure, salt could be a migraine trigger.
How we can cut down
If prepared foods contain such high levels of salt, then obviously it's not enough to merely cut down on the amounts we use in cooking and at the table. That's why it's important to read food labels and to know what foods are high and low in.
However, things can get a bit fuzzy when it comes to food labelling. The local requirement is that the ingredients be listed in descending order of mass – but this applies only to the main ingredients of the food.
Therefore, if salt is a main ingredient, a general guideline would be to check where salt is placed on the list. The smaller the amount of salt used, the further down the list it will be. Salt is one additive that has to be identified by name, though not necessarily by quantity. (Other additives that must be identified include tartrazine and monosodium glutamate.)A guideline is to check on the label for salt and if you are going to eat a product with salt in it, to cut down on your salt intake for the rest of the day.
Luckily, there is some good news: according to the new food-labelling laws, products claiming to be low in sodium (salt) must state the specific amount, says Antoinette Booyzen, assistant director of the Regulatory Nutrition Directorate: Food Control, of the Department of Health.
What the labels mean
Foods with a high salt content
Foods low in salt
salt intake is not
There are some medical conditions for which the reduction of salt is not advisable. People suffering from any medical condition should check with their doctor before making dietary changes.