Too much salt

toomuchsaltD: Can I have some salt on this?

Me: There’s already some on it.

D: I can’t taste it. Can I have some more on?

Me: A tiny bit. Too much salt is bad for your heart.

D: I know!… Mum?

Me: Yes?

D: What happens to your heart if you have too much salt?

Me: Weeeell… Salt dries things up. You know when you eat salty food it makes you thirsty?

D: Yes.

Me: Well, if you eat lots of salt, then your body thinks it’s trying to dry up your insides and so it holds on to lots of water and keeps it in your body, so there’s less space for everything to move around. Your blood can’t travel around in the tubes so well, because the walls of the tubes get thicker to cope with all the salt, so the space in the tubes gets smaller. Your blood pressure goes up and your heart and kidneys have to work really, really hard and might not be able to work properly.

D: I know about when kidneys don’t work properly – Cooper, the dog, had a problem with his kidney and he wee’d all over the floor, but it wasn’t his fault – it was his kidney not working properly.

Me: Oh yes, his insides didn’t work very well did they? I don’t think that was too much salt though – I think it was just old age.
Sometimes, too much salt can affect your brain too – high blood pressure and thin tubes sometimes means that blood can’t travel up to your brain so well.

D: So your brain doesn’t work properly?

Me: That could be – yes. If your brain doesn’t get as much oxygen as it needs, because not enough blood is getting there with the oxygen in, then your brain won’t work properly.

D: Oh! I hope my brain won’t break because I had too much salt!

Me: You’ll be fine. But you shouldn’t eat too much salt on things – just a teeny tiny pinch will do.

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