Eating salt doubles your risk of heart failure, a major study has found.
According to the World Health Organisation, many people consume from 80 to 140 percent more salt than the daily maximum of six grams currently recommended by the NHS.
The 12-year study from Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare looked at 4,600 people from two previous Finnish studies, performing a follow up check of their salt intake along with recording their lifestyle habits, weight, height and blood pressure. Over the 12 years, 121 participants developed heart failure.
Professor Pekka Jousilahti said: ‘High salt intake markedly increases the risk of heart failure. This salt-related increase in heart failure risk was independent of blood pressure.’
‘People who consumed more than 13.7g of salt daily had a two times higher risk of heart failure compared to those consuming less than 6.8g.’
Humans only need around two to three grams of salt per day—around the same amount that you will find in a tikka masala ready meal.
In addition to heart failure, salt can have a negative impact on the brain as it can damage the arteries leading to it. This can lead to vascular dementia—when the cells in the brain aren’t able to work properly because they aren’t receiving enough oxygen and nutrients.
High-salt diets have also been found to put extra strain on the kidneys, reducing their ability to filter out toxic waste.
In order to lower your risk of developing health problems such as heart failure, it is important to try to decrease your salt intake.
Watch out for:
Cheese. While delicious, a lot of cheese has a surprising amount of salt added to it.
Ready meals. In an attempt to add extra flavour at a low cost, manufacturers use high amounts of salt in ready meals.
Bacon. Many people love to eat this salty meat for breakfast, but having it every day could drastically increase your salt intake.
Pre-prepared pasta sauces. Ready-made pasta sauces can have high levels of salt in them.
Canned soup. Salt is a great preservative and so is added to not only canned soups, but also many other long-life produce.
Microwave noodles. The flavour sachets are very high in sodium. Opt to use natural flavours such as garlic and ginger for a healthier alternative.
Crisps. Even the flavours without ‘salted’ in the name may have a high salt content.
Dissolvable vitamin supplements. One dissolvable vitamin supplement can have up to one gram of salt!
A lot of ready-made food will have a high amount of sodium in. Make sure to check packaging to see how much salt you are consuming, and try to prepare your own food where you can to help monitor your intake.