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You’re so swollen you feel like the Michelin woman.
If you suddenly feel all puffed up or even notice that you’ve magically gained weight overnight , excess sodium could be the culprit.
“Salt acts likes a magnet to water, causing you to retain fluids,” Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., founder of Better Than Dieting and author of Read It Before You Eat It , tells SELF. ____ Your jewelry might even be the tip-off. “I know someone who, when she has a bowl of soup, needs to start taking her rings off because otherwise she won’t be able to get them off later,” says Taub-Dix.
The fix for this one is pretty easy: In addition to cutting back on your sodium intake, drink more water , says Zeitlin, who explains that water helps get the excess sodium out of your system. You can also avoid bloat-causing foods and instead load up on foods that help reduce bloating .
2. Your mouth is consistently parched
Even if you’re drinking the right amount of water every day , eating a ton of salty food can result in unquenchable thirst. “Your body is built to try to regulate the amount of sodium [you take in] with fluids, so too much salt intake will lead to a higher demand of fluids to flush out the salt,” says Zeitlin.
3. You notice that a lot of food tastes bland.
“I don’t believe in demonizing one item—you can live your life healthfully even when including things like salt in your diet—but the thing about salt is that when you use too much of it, you develop a taste for it and can’t taste the beauty of the food you’re eating,” says Taub-Dix. Once your taste buds have adjusted to liking a certain amount of salt, you might find that you don’t want to eat anything without sprinkling it on. If you’re pouring on more than your companions when dining out, or dousing your home-cooked meals to match the saltiness of packaged foods or restaurant meals, it likely means you’re overdoing it.
“You can cut back on salt without compromising flavor,” says Taub-Dix. She’s a fan of emptying out the salt shaker in her home and instead replacing it with a tasty spice blend. “The use of seasonings and spices like smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and even using lemon, really does help you learn to develop an interesting palate and not miss sodium as much,” she explains.
4. Your doctor says you have high blood pressure.
Normal blood pressure hovers at 120/80 or lower, according to the American Heart Association . Unless you have severely high blood pressure, you probably won’t experience symptoms, but getting high results on a test could be a sign you’re eating too much sodium, says Taub-Dix. What’s worse, untreated high blood pressure “can lead to heart disease , stroke, kidney damage and