Those who always season food 22% more likely to suffer heart problemsAugust 27, 2023
Adding salt to every meal raises risk of heart problems by 20 per cent, study finds
- Atrial fibrillation (AF), can increase your risk of a stroke by a factor of five
Adding salt to every meal increases your risk of heart problems by just over a fifth, a study shows.
Those who always season their food were 22 per cent more likely to suffer an irregular heartbeat than those who never or rarely use the condiment.
The condition, known as atrial fibrillation (AF), can increase your risk of a stroke by five times.
Professor James Leiper, of the British Heart Foundation, said the study was a ‘healthy reminder’ to not use too much salt.
AF is the UK’s most common heart rhythm disturbance, affecting around 1.5 million Britons. It can cause the heart to beat too fast, causing problems such as dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.
Previous research has shown eating too much salt can raise your risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to AF.
Adding salt to every meal increases your risk of heart problems by just over a fifth, a study shows
The NHS recommends adults should have no more than 6g of salt a day – around a teaspoon.
The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Amsterdam, looked at data from 395,682 Britons aged 40 to 70 from 2006.
They were surveyed on how regularly they salted their meals, ranging from ‘never/rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘usually’ and ‘always’.
Researchers then tracked them over 11 years to see how this affected their chances of developing AF.
Those who never salted their meals were 18 per cent less likely to suffer AF than those who always did. Usual salters were 12 per cent less likely, while ‘sometimes’ salters were 15 per cent less likely.
Independent experts said the study emphasised the need for people to cut salt in their diet.
Lead author Dr Yoon Jung Park, of Kyungpook National University Hospital, South Korea, said: ‘Our study indicates that lower frequency of adding salt to foods was associated with a lower risk of AF.’
Professor Leiper added: ‘It’s well known that eating too much salt can lead to health problems, including high blood pressure.
The NHS recommends adults should have no more than 6g of salt a day – around a teaspoon
‘As well as increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure can also cause damage to your heart and this in turn can cause atrial fibrillation.
‘The number of people diagnosed with AF has grown to 1.5 million – an increase of 50 per cent over the past ten years.’
Mhairi Brown, of Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health, said: ‘Decades of research shows that eating too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure.
‘High blood pressure is responsible for around half of all strokes and heart disease, and the World Health Organisation recommends salt reduction as one of the most cost-effective and impactful measures to protect health.
‘The Government’s analysis shows if we cut 1g of salt a day, this would reduce blood pressure and there would be around 4,000 fewer premature deaths from strokes and heart attacks a year.
‘This research is a valuable addition to the evidence base and reinforces the need for strict policies that would help lower the amount of salt in our food and protect our health from avoidable deaths.’
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