Think twice before sprinkling that extra pinch of salt on your food next time you’re cooking or eating out.
It’s common knowledge that consuming a lot of salt can cause high blood pressure, but recent findings show that a high salt intake can harm your heart directly.
Heart failure is a condition that debilitates or stiffens the heart making it difficult to pump blood throughout your body, resulting in breathlessness, exhaustion and sometimes death. Currently, this disease is most common among people over 65.
“The heart does not like salt. High salt intake markedly increases the risk of heart failure. This salt-related increase in heart failure risk was independent of blood pressure. The optimal daily salt intake is probably even lower than 6.8g”, said Pekka Jousilahti, who spearheaded the study at the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki.
The new findings were the result of a 12-year-long study that analyzed the salt intake by measuring the concentration of salt in the urine of 4,630 Finnish people between 25 and 64 years of age. The study showed that 121 of the participants eventually developed heart failure. Weight, blood pressure and cholesterol were factored in, but those consuming a lot of salt were still 75 percent more likely to develop heart failure, according to the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.
However, further research needs to be done to conclude how salt effects those with different diets around the world.
According to the World Health Organization, the recommended maximum intake should be 5g but our body only needs 2g to 3g a day. And although our intake should be low, most people consume around 8g a day because it’s added to processed foods.
“We need to consume some salt in our diet but most western diets have salt intakes much greater than the amount required to be healthy,” said Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation. “There is a clear relationship between eating too much salt and your risk of having high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”
Learn more about the risks of salt consumption from The Times here.
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