Is there a link between a high intake of salt and premature death?

Is there a link between a high intake of salt and premature death?

These scientists claim that using more than the recommended salt in your food will not only put your health in danger, but can also reduce your lifespan. 

Salt /iStock

For many years, health officials have been warning against putting too much salt in food. 

The World Health Organisation recommends that a person should consume 5g per day, but many of us consume as much as 40g a day. This is because salt is found in almost every food item on the shelf. 

Even though previous research showed that consuming too much salt can put one at risk of contracting hypertension and it contributes to a high risk of cardiovascular disease, there is new research that shows that it can even affect one's lifespan. 

Research published by European Heart Journal shows that adding salt and sodium to your food can increase your risk of premature death.

The researchers observed 501,379 participants taking into consideration their age, race, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, diet, and medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart and blood vessel diseases.

It found that those who added extra salt to their food had a 28% increased risk of dying before the age of 75, compared with those who never or rarely added salt to their food. 

READ: Salt Week awareness week: How to get involved

The following is a guide from World Action on Salt organisation on how you can reduce your salt intake. 

o Slowly reduce the amount of salt you use while cooking – your taste buds will adapt.

o Use herbs, spices, lemon, garlic and fresh chilli when cooking to add flavour in place of salt.

o Drain and rinse canned vegetables and beans – they are sometimes stored in salted water!

o Check food labels to check salt levels and choose the lower salt option. No nutrition labels? Write
to the manufacturer to ask why!

o Take salt shakers and salty sauces off the table so younger family members don’t develop the
habit of adding salt to their food.


o Tinned tuna in brine → tinned tuna in water.

o Smoked salmon → fresh oily fish. 

o Ham and cheese sandwich filling → fresh sliced chicken and salad.

o Salted butter → unsalted butter.

o Prepacked salted popcorn → fresh popped unflavoured popcorn.

o Salad dressings or mayonnaise → fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

o Instant noodles → make your own with plain noodles, vegetables and fish or meat. 

o Pizza with high salt toppings e.g. anchovies, olives, pepperoni, marinated meats → pizza with
lower salt topping e.g. grilled chicken, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn. 

Image courtesy of iStock/ @AnVr

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Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

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