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Chlorine in food: where to find it and when it is dangerous

Chlorine in food: where to find it and when it is dangerous

As for many other minerals, our body absorbs chlorine through food. However, you should not underestimate its possible adverse effects.

We don’t hear often about chlorine. For someone, it is just used to purify water, for example in swimming pools. However, this is a common mineral you can find in your body, and it has important tasks.

For example, chlorine is one of the components of our gastric juices, in the form of hydrochloric acid. It helps digesting proteins and protecting the organism from the bacteria we ingest with food. Where can we find this element, and when do we need to be careful?

Chlorine: where to find it

The most important chlorine compounds is sodium chloride, that is the main ingredient of kitchen salt. Eating foods rich in salt satisfies almost all of our daily need of this element.

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For example, cold cuts, aged foods, cheese, some fish and foods preserved in salt are rich in this element. Moreover, many vegetables contain this mineral, such as seaweeds, tomatoes, lettuce, celery and olives.

An adult needs about 2,3 grams of chlorine per day. We often overdo it, due to the high use of salt in our recipes, but also because the water we drink contains this mineral.

Chlorine deficiency or excess

Our diet can be the cause of chlorine deficiency. It can happen in three ways: in case of vomit, diarrhea, or serious sweating. It is necessary to adjust its levels, as this mineral is fundamental for our electrolyte balance.

In healthy individuals, chlorine excess does not cause problems, as the kidneys eliminate the excess. However, you should not underestimate the risks of taking this element in the wrong way. As it is associated with sodium, it can cause hypertension.

Which are chlorine risks?

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When does this element become harmful? As we have seen, using too much salt is not enough to have sudden problems. However, in the long run it can be dangerous.

Taking too much chlorine can increase blood pressure and promote fluid retention, causing kidney problems and cyrrhosis of the liver. The risks are bigger for people suffering from diabetes, since high blood chlorine levels can increase blood sugar levels.

Instead, if you take too much of this substance in a short period of time, you can suffer from chlorine poisoning. The symptoms are: abdominal pains, vomit, throat swelling and accumulation of fluids in the lungs.

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