Facts about the global rise in salt intake
- WHO recommends adults should have less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt every day.
- Most countries, including the ones in South Asia, have been reported to consume almost double the recommended amount. On an average, people around the world are consuming between 9-12 gms of salt per day.
- Reducing salt intake and consuming under 5gms a day can bring significant relief in the number of patients with high blood pressure and can cut risk of developing heart ailments.
- Close to 2.4 million deaths can be avoided owing to a global reduction in salt intake.
- Reduced sodium intake can also help in preventing nearly 10% of deaths related to cardiovascular disease.
- Excessive salt intake in diet is linked to increasing blood pressure levels and making one susceptible to heart ailments, multiple sclerosis and enlarged muscle tissue.
Salt intake in India
According to a study published in the journal Hypertension, when experts studied salt consumption patent in India between 1986 and 2014, it was found that, "mean salt consumption levels were between 5.22 and 42.30g/day. With an extreme outlier excluded, overall mean weighted salt intake was 10.98g/day. The population salt consumption far exceeds the WHO-recommended maximum of 5g per person per day".
Quick tips to consume less salt
1. Limit the intake of salty snacks (like salted nuts) and switch to unsalted variants.
2. Choose products with lower salt content
3. Not adding, putting less salt during preparation
4. Read labels on the product to make low sodium selections
5. Remove salt shakers from the dinner table
6. Keeping a tap on consumption of sauces, pickles and condiments, these use large quantities of salt for preservation purposes.
Undeniably, salt plays a vital role in our lives. Not only is it important for the regulation of important bodily processes but is also an indispensable necessity in all of our meals. Interestingly, most of our daily salt requirement can easily be met through natural sources like fruits and vegetables. A rapid shift toward processed food items and western diet has led to an increase in daily salt consumption which has begun to assume a menacing character.