Hold the Salt

When consumed in large quantities, salt can cause hypertension and greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Governments, industry, civil-society organizations, and, ultimately, individuals must initiate efforts to reduce the world's salt intake to healthy levels.

GENEVA – Parents, take note: there is a serious health risk lurking in your homes to which your children are being exposed daily – a commonplace household ingredient that features in most meals: salt. It may seem innocuous, but consuming too much salt can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, and greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Salt is in almost everything we eat, from bread and cereals to cheese and cured meats. Most processed and prepared foods already contain high levels of salt, and often we add it to the foods that we make ourselves. Worldwide, salt is found on dining tables, in domestic and commercial kitchens, and in nearly all commercial food-processing facilities.

Sodium, which is present in salt, is necessary to maintain plasma volume, acid-base balance, the transmission of nerve impulses, and normal cell function. Iodized salt provides the iodine needed to prevent brain damage in children and a range of other health problems.

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