SALT: THE SILENT KILLER


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A larmingly, almost everyone in the UK eats too much salt. Currently, the daily recommended amount of salt in the UK is no more than six grams (just a teaspoon!), whilst the current average salt intake is 8.6g (with many consuming more than this).

Despite the recommended amount of salt being six grams, those with high blood pressure should be actively eating less than the specified amount. Excessive salt consumption is one of the largest factors contributing towards high blood pressure; though high blood pressure may not seem as serious as other illnesses, it can be a root cause of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and renal failure.

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Genetics can cause us to be particularly sensitive to too much salt and this is most definitely the case with South Asians. Various studies into South Asian health have determined that those of Indian/Pakistani/Bengali descent are at a higher risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Shockingly, South Asians are 30- 40 per cent more likely to die prematurely from heart disease in comparison to the rest of the UK population and they are six times more likely to have diabetes than the average UK population.

In spite of these worrying statistics, reduction of salt in the diets of South Asians is very limited. Whilst the majority of the UK consume (and exceed) their recommended daily amount of salt from processed foods, in the South Asian population, almost all of the salt consumed is added during cooking or at the table. The astronomical amounts of salt that the community have unwittingly incorporated into their diet is masked by the variety of spices that also go into the common curry/fried snack.

By incorporating the above into your day to day lifestyle, positive changes will most definitely be observed. While food may begin to taste slightly bland when you first decrease salt levels, tastebuds will gradually get used to this change (this can take up to three weeks) – so perseverance is key.

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