Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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While people usually look for the magic food that could add to their life expectancy, there’s also the other side of the coin to consider. Certain foods and ingredients could be compromising your health, while cutting your longevity. New research, published in the European Heart Journal, has added salt to this category.
The staple of home cooking, salt is perhaps the most popular seasoning out there.
With the ability to enhance the flavour of your dish, it is one of the key ingredients found in every kitchen.
However, if you sprinkle this seasoning on your food, you could be at a higher risk of dying early, according to the new study.
Looking at more than 500,000 people, the research found that those who consumed extra salt had a 28 percent higher risk of premature death.
READ MORE: Lung cancer: Expert warns of risk factor in your home that many people are ‘unaware of’
If you prefer to keep the salt shaker locked in the kitchen cupboard, you may be onto something as those who rarely or never used the ingredient didn’t face the same longevity risk.
Regarding the exact time you’re risking by using the cheap seasoning, the researchers found that men aged 50 could lose 2.28 years of their life by consuming extra salt.
While women of the same age could see their life expectancy cut by around a year-and-a-half.
The study first collected data between the years 2006 and 2010. Nine years later, they also conducted a follow-up.
During this check-up, the researchers noted almost 18,500 premature deaths.
The lead researcher Professor Lu Qi said: “In the Western diet, adding salt at the table accounts for six percent to 20 percent of total salt intake and provides a unique way to evaluate the association between habitual sodium intake and the risk of death.”
However, there’s also some good news as even a “modest reduction” in your sodium intake could have “substantial” effects on your health.
Furthermore, the research team also explained that this risk of early death was slightly lower in those who ate more fruit and vegetables. However, the difference wasn’t “significant”.
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How much salt should I eat?
The NHS shares that adults should have no more than six grams of salt a day, which is the equivalent of one teaspoon.
However, the World Heart Organization (WHO) recommends going even lower, with their advice stating that adults should have no more than five grams of salt per day.
This new study shares that based on their findings, the optimal amount, or the “sweet spot”, remains to be identified.
Dr Qi added: “Because our study is the first to report a relation between adding salt to foods and mortality, further studies are needed to validate the findings before making recommendations.”
While the salt shaker can add to your daily allowance, the study warned that actually most of your salt intake comes from your groceries.
Companies add salt to the food your buy, with every single item containing the common seasoning.
Fortunately, in the UK there’s a reference intake imprinted on food labels, informing you of these values.
Blood Pressure UK recommends checking these numbers to understand if your food is low, medium or high in salt.
The charity also warns that eating too much salt is one of the biggest causes of high blood pressure.
And this condition is known for raising your risk of life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. So, this represent another reason for cutting back on the common seasoning.
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