Michael Hunter, MD on Medika Life

Is Your Salt Threatening You?

Adding salt may take years from your life.

ADD SALT AND SODIUM TO YOUR FOOD at your peril: Researchers indicate that the practice may increase your risk of dying early. So many of us are used to putting extra salt in our food, rendering it challenging to reduce sodium intake.

Today, we turn to a new study that examines the impact of adding salt to our food. Extra sodium can raise blood pressure, exacerbating heart disease and stroke risk.

The new research investigation is the first to analyze the relationship between adding salt to our food and early mortality (defined as death before age 75 years).

Added salt and early mortality

Tulane University (USA) researchers looked at the relationship between salt and sodium intake and premature mortality.

They followed study subjects for an average of nine years. Here are the remarkable findings:

Individuals who always added salt to their food had a nearly 1.3-fold (28 percent) increase in the probability of dying prematurely compared with those who never or rarely added salt to their food.

Photo by Allec Gomes on Unsplash

Salt is born of the purest parents: the sun and the sea. — Pythagoras

Now the good news: Increasing intake of fresh fruits and vegetables weakened the link between salt use at mealtimes and early death.

Let’s get more granular: Looking at life expectancy at age 50, adding salt to food appeared associated with a reduction of 2.3 years for men and 1.5 years for women.

The investigators accounted for potential confounding factors, including demographics (age, sex, race), body mass index, tobacco or alcohol use, diet, physical activity, and medical conditions (such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease).

My take — Added salt and early mortality

I believe this is the first study to analyze the link between adding salt to foods and premature death.

My father died of a stroke, so I am particularly sensitive to anything that increases my risk of cardiovascular disease. After examining everything I ate, I was shocked to see how much salt I consumed. The sauces and marinades appeared chock fall of sodium.

By being careful with added salt at the table, I hope to give myself substantial health benefits. I have also discovered the richness of herbs and spices added to foods made from scratch.

We all have different comfort levels with risk. Have you thought about your salt consumption?

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Michael Hunter, MD
I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

Michael Hunter, MD

I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

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