Salt Really Does Boost Health Risks

A recent review published in the November 25th online edition of BMJ found that high-salt diets around the world are increasing the risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The review looked at 13 studies that assessed the link between salt and cardiovascular disease and stroke. The combined studies included more than 170,000 people from around the world.

It’s long been understood that excessive amounts of salt put people at greater risk of high blood pressure, but this review further investigated the long-term results of having salt-induced high blood pressure. Researchers found that increasing your daily salt intake by 5 grams could lead to a 23 percent increase in the rate of stroke and a 17 percent increase in the rate of cardiovascular disease.

The World Health Organization recommends limiting your salt intake to 5 grams a day, which equals about one teaspoon of salt. People living in the West tend to eat about 10 grams of salt per day, double the recommended daily allowance. People in Eastern Europe consume even more salt.

Based on those numbers, reviewers estimated that reducing daily salt intake by 5 grams around the world could prevent more than 1 million deaths by stroke and nearly 3 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year. Authors also noted that the number of prevented deaths could actually be larger because it’s difficult to measure exact salt intake.