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Reducing dietary salt intake effective strategy to lower disease risk

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-02-15  Views: 4
Core Tip: To lower the risk of developing a heart disease by 25 percent, and that of mortality due to this by 20 percent, it is imperative to restrict dietary intake of salt.
To lower the risk of developing a heart disease by 25 percent, and that of mortality due to this by 20 percent, it is imperative to restrict dietary intake of salt. It is, therefore, an effective harm reduction strategy.

This was also discussed at the first-ever harm reduction conference, organised by the Heart Cafe Foundation of India (HCFI) and the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy (IJCP) at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi in January 2019.

Studies indicate that the high salt intake can have detrimental effects on blood pressure. Over time, this can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. People with hypertension should consume not more than 6g of sodium chloride a day.

As per recent figures by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), salt intake among Indian adult Indians is high. It exceeds the levels recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization).

In Delhi and Haryana, it is 9.5g per day and 10.4g per day in Andhra Pradesh. This can be a risk factor, especially in those with a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease.

Speaking about this, K K Aggarwal, president, HCFI, said, “The Indian diet is high in sodium and their salt consumption is one of the biggest contributing factors for non-communicable diseases.”

“Excessive salt over time can cause irreparable damage to the kidneys as well. High salt intake also causes a rise in blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension,” he added.

“High blood pressure can harden the arteries, further decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen. An impairment in the flow of oxygen, to an organ such as your face, can cause your skin to dry and wrinkles faster which can make one look less youthful- not to mention the other health effects,” Aggarwal said.

“An adult must not consume over 5g salt in a day,” recommended WHO. Researchers and policy-makers around the world stress on reducing salt intake to control hypertension because its key triggers— stress and faulty lifestyle—are difficult to control.

Adding further, Dr Maj Prachi Garg, secretary, IMA NDB (New Delhi branch, Indian Medical Association), said, “The terms salt and sodium are often used interchangeably. However, they mean different things.”

“Salt comprises sodium and chloride. It is the sodium in salt that can be bad for your heart. While salt is essential for life, it is important to consume the right kind and maintain a proper salt-to-potassium ratio. It is noteworthy that over 75 per cent of the sodium we consume comes from packaged and restaurant foods,” she added.

Some recommendations
Reduce salt intake as much as possible. Lower the better. Add only normal amounts of salt when cooking or use alternatives to salt

Preserved and packaged foods have maximum salt. reduce them as much as possible

Read the labels when shopping. Look for lower sodium in cereals, crackers, pasta sauces, canned vegetables, or any foods with low-salt options. Or eat less processed and packaged foods

Ask about salt added to food, especially at restaurants. Most restaurant chefs will omit salt when requested

Remember the word Na, which is present in many drugs, soda etc.

Nothing can be preserved without adding salt to it, therefore beware of processed and frozen fruits

Remember that it takes three months of a salt-free diet to get adjusted to it and ultimately start liking it
 
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