Adding salt to your meal at the table is linked to shorter life expectancy and a higher risk of early death, according to a new study.
The study looked at more than 500,000 people from the UK Biobank who answered a questionnaire about their salt habits and how often they added salt to their diet between 2006 and 2010.
Before you go through all your favorite recipes again, the researchers only looked at how much salt was added after the meals in question were cooked, according to findings published in the European Heart Journal in July.
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The researchers followed the participants about nine years later and found that the more salt people added to their meals, the more likely they were to die early. However, people who eat a lot of salt can lower their risk by eating more fruits and vegetables, the study says.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day — but notes that the “ideal limit” is 1,500 milligrams per day. Consuming too much salt can increase blood pressure, which in turn can cause heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, the Heart Association said.
The UK’s National Health Service recommends that adults limit their sodium intake to about a teaspoon of salt per day.
There’s a long history of scientific research showing that highsalt diets are risky, but this study adds a new level of caution to put more on your plate, said the study’s lead author Lu Qi, a professor of epidemiology of the Tulane University School. . . for Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.
“More evidence, particularly from clinical trials, is needed before the public takes any action,” he said. “However, our results are consistent with previous studies that consistently show that high sodium intake is negatively associated with various health outcomes, such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.”
continue to reduce
Even if you don’t add salt to your own dish, you may be consuming more sodium than you should.
A 2020 metaanalysis of 133 randomized controlled trials on reducing salt intake found strong evidence that reducing dietary sodium lowered blood pressure in people with existing hypertension — and even in people who aren’t already at risk.
One of the main contributors to high levels of sodium in our diet? Processed foods often use salt to add flavor, texture, color, and preservation. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, more than 70% of the sodium Americans eat comes from what the food industry added to products later purchased in stores or restaurants.
“Most of my patients don’t salt the dinner table, but they don’t realize that rolls, canned vegetables, and chicken breast are some of the worst (highsodium) offenders in the US,” said Dr. Stephen Juraschek, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who researches sodium and hypertension.
Juraschek was not involved in either the biobank study or the 2020 metaanalysis.
But everything tastes so good with salt, you might be thinking.
However, there are strategies to maintain a vibrant palate and create appealing dishes with less salt, said Carly Knowles, a registered nutritionist who is also a private chef, licensed doula, and author of The Nutritionist’s Kitchen cookbook.
Knowles recommends cooking at home more often — where you have more control over the salt shaker while you prepare your meal — reading the ingredients on your products, substituting unsalted herb and spice blends, and focusing your diet on minimally processed foods.