Reduce your salt intake and improve your health, PHA advises

( — The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to keep a close eye on their salt intake during National Salt Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 March.

The theme for this year’s National Salt Awareness Week is ‘Salt and men’s health’. Research shows that men eat more salt than women and on average have a higher blood pressure than women, particularly at a younger age. Men are also less likely to have their blood pressure checked or to take action to reduce it when it is raised.

Salt puts up our blood pressure, and raised blood pressure (hypertension) is the major factor in strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, the leading causes of death and disability in the UK. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but if you have it, you are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

Decreasing your average salt intake will reduce incidences of cardiovascular disease which will save thousands of lives every year. There is also increasing evidence of a link between our current high salt intake and stomach cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and kidney disease.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health, PHA, said: “The PHA encourages all consumers to take an active approach to reducing their salt intake, by checking product labels and preparing more of their food at home. 75% of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, so by reading product labels to determine whether a product is high or low in salt, we can significantly reduce our salt intake and improve our health.

“Often the information on food labels lists sodium, rather than salt content. To work out how much salt is in the food, simply multiply by 2.5; so, for example, if the label on baked beans shows that they contain 0.4g sodium per half tin, this means that half a tin of the beans provides 1g of salt.


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