Nutrition: Five reasons to cut down salt

Too much salt in your diet could have serious effects on your health. Here are five reasons to cut back: Blood pressure The Intersalt study, the world’s largest salt investigation, involving more than 10,000 people from 32 countries, showed a general correlation between sodium consumption and blood pressure.

Too much salt in your diet could have serious effects on your health. Here are five reasons to cut back:

Blood pressure

The Intersalt study, the world’s largest salt investigation, involving more than 10,000 people from 32 countries, showed a general correlation between sodium consumption and blood pressure.

The pattern was strongest in the middle-aged, but persisted weakly across the whole age and blood pressure range.

Experts involved in the study estimate that a blanket reduction by one-third in sodium intake could reduce strokes in the UK by 22 pc and heart attacks by 16 pc.

Osteoporosis

A high salt intake is associated with a greater excretion of calcium in the urine which some researchers think may compromise bone strength and increase the risk of osteoporosis. One study of bone density in post-menopausal women concluded that a reduction in sodium intake from about 4g to 2g daily could have the same positive effect on bone-thinning as an increase in calcium intake of 900mg.

Asthma

A correlation has been found between purchases of table salt and asthma mortality in men and children. And in a study at a Leicester hospital, asthmatic males who were given a sodium supplement of 4.6g daily showed worsening of symptoms compared with those given a placebo.

Stomach cancer

A number of studies have associated a high intake of salted foods with an increased incidence of gastric cancer. A study carried out at the International Agency for Research On Cancer in Lyon, France, showed that people who always added salt to their food had a 78 pc higher risk of the disease.

Weight gain

Sodium attracts water like a sponge, so it increases fluid in the body, straining the heart and kidneys and increasing blood pressure. High sodium intake can increase body weight by up to 3lb.

 

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