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Hold the salt on that turkey

When you're reaching for the salt shaker during your Thanksgiving feast, here's a new piece of research you might want to keep in mind: Eating a lot of salt increases your risk for strokes and heart disease, according to a new analysis coming out Wednesday.

There's been a long debate over the risks of salt, but studies have indicated that it increases the risk for developing high blood pressure. To examine the effects of that on strokes and heart attacks, researchers at the University of Warwick and elsewhere analyzed 13 studies conducted between 1966 and 2008 in the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, The Netherlands, Finland and China that involved more than 170,000 people.

The analysis found what the researchers called an "unequivocal" link between high salt intake in the diet and increased risk of stroke and heart disease. A drop of 5 grams of daily talk intake would reduce strokes by 23 percent and heart disease by 17 percent.

Given that more than 5.5 million people die from strokes and nearly 17.5 million die from heart disease worldwide, that would translate into a reduction in the annual toll of 1.25 million fatal and non-fatal strokes and nearly 3 million heart problems, including heart attacks, each year worldwide, the researches estimate in a paper published in the British Medical Journal.

Most adults consume about 10 grams of salt each day even though the WHO recommends consuming no more than 5 grams daily.

The researchers noted that a lot of the salt in our diets comes from processed food, meaning it will probably take government intervention with the food industry to cut salt intake.

By Rob Stein  |  November 25, 2009; 12:15 AM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health , Family Health , General Health , Nutrition and Fitness  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: For weight control, consider a smaller plate
Next: Rx: Take health news with a grain of salt


Good grief people, stop obsessing over a holiday meal that comes once a year.

Posted by: spamsux1 | November 25, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think this is kind of stupid. Turkey is one food that is responsible for food poisoning much more than many others. The turkeys you buy at the store are processed mostly by machines. They are gutted with a machine that has a lot of little hooks that pull the entrails out. In the process the intrails can be ruptured and the contents can get on the meat. Yes they are washed and maybe treated with a disinfectant but there is still a good chance that the meat is contaminated by bacteria. Turkeys are a big piece of meat and must be cooked toughly. Most people do not prepare them more than a few times a year so there is a danger that they might be a little under cooked and then they could be left to stand a room temperature for some time. That is a perfect recipe for food poisning. Salt is the oldest and most used of any food preservative. It inhibits bacteria by desiccation, dries them out. I personally would reather eat turkey that is a little salty then one that is not and under cooked. I used curing salt on ours this year.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | November 26, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I do enjoy salting my foods but I think everything in moderation is really key. Our little boy had severe Eczema since he was a baby and we had to be so careful about what he consumed. Now our whole family loves whole foods and we have tried to get rid of processed foods from our life as much as possible. Thankfully our prayers were heard with our son because we started giving him the Bellyboost chewable probiotics and he began clearing up almost immediately and very dramatically! We are so happy for this and because of everything we have gone through we will always be health conscious. Yes, we will continue to use salt :)

Posted by: smilinggreenmom | December 1, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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