Though salt is an essential condiment to make our food tasty and replenish our sodium needs in the body, excessive intake can also lead to a plethora of health ailments, high pressure being one of them.
Surprisingly, an average Indian consumes at least 3 grams more salt daily than the permissible limit. The medically recommended limit is 5g (grams) of salt daily when the actual use is normally around 8g, according to a study published in the journal Nature Portfolio.
The study is based on a sample survey carried out as part of the National NCD (Non-Communicable Diseases) Monitoring Survey in which researchers, among other things, monitored urinary sodium (a key component of salt) excretion in 3,000 adults and the intake of salt was estimated using a globally standardised formula.
According to the study, a higher-than-recommended salt intake was observed among all adults, across sociodemographic profiles. But further analysis showed men had a higher salt intake (8.9g/day) compared to women (7.9g/daily).
Similarly, the employed (8.6g), current tobacco users (8.3g), obese (9.2g) and those with raised blood pressure (8.5g) were found to have a higher salt intake than the unemployed, those who didn’t use tobacco, non-obese and people with normal blood pressure. A diet high in sodium, a key ingredient in common table salt, can trigger heart attack and stroke.
A universal reduction in the dietary sodium consumption of at least 1.2g per day would help achieve a 50% reduction in the proportion of persons who require anti-hypertensive treatment. An awareness of the adverse health effects could influence the willingness to curb excessive salt consumption, a health expert said, stressing the need for effective policy interventions in food labelling, and regulating sodium levels in dietary substances prepared commercially by industry.