Too much salt can be major risk to health

Reuters
Excessive salt in food and beverages is putting people at greater risk of potentially fatal heart disease and strokes.
Reuters

Excessive salt in food and beverages is putting people at greater risk of potentially fatal heart disease and strokes, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, issuing fresh guidelines for limiting sodium content.

An estimated 11 million deaths globally are associated with poor diet each year, including 3 million attributable to high sodium intake, it said in a report.

In many wealthy countries, and increasingly in lower income nations, a significant proportion of sodium in the diet comes from manufactured foods such as bread, cereal, processed meats and dairy products including cheese, the WHO said.

Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt and sodium is a mineral that regulates the amount of water in the body.

The new WHO benchmarks, for 64 food and drink categories, are aimed at guiding health authorities in its 194 member states in talks with the food and beverage industry. It recommends people consume less than 5 grams of salt per day.

“Excess dietary sodium intake increases blood pressure and consequently increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” the WHO said.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths from non-communicable diseases worldwide, responsible for 32 percent of all deaths, according to the health agency.

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