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As stroke is considered a medical emergency that requires a swift response, prevention is better than treatment. While there are plenty of interventions that can see your risk fall, an ingredient you consume daily could be compromising your risk.
A stroke details a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain gets cut off. Poor lifestyle decisions can be a trigger for this medical emergency. While savoury meals are not necessarily bad for you, having too much salt can increase your risk of stroke.
If you prefer to keep your salt shaker locked in the kitchen cupboard, you may be onto something.
Having too much of the common ingredient could eventually lead to a stroke.
Dr Sarah Jarvis from LoSalt, said: “Salt is the biggest source of sodium in diets and too much sodium contributes to high blood pressure, aka hypertension, which in turn increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“Hypertension is the number one risk factor for death globally, and in 2019, caused more than half the cases of coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure experienced around the world, and more than 10 million deaths.”
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However, it’s not all bad news as an estimated 80 percent of cardiovascular disease can be prevented, the expert added.
What’s more, your salt intake is the “number one controllable risk factor for high blood pressure”.
The reason why salt increases your blood pressure comes down to water retention.
Blood Pressure UK explains that having too much of the popular seasoning puts extra water in your blood, resulting in extra pressure on your blood vessel walls.
Sadly, this is the very recipe for high blood pressure, with salt being the main ingredient.
Sas Parsad from The Gut Co also explained a different mechanism that has the same result.
Parsad said: “Studies have shown that a diet high in salt can cause excess bloating; an indication that your gut is unhealthy.
“Having a high dietary sodium intake can induce inflammation in the gut that directly increases blood pressure through increased production of inflammatory cytokines.”
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That’s why it’s important to “cut down” on the cheap ingredient. Fortunately, saying goodbye to even a small amount could be helpful.
Dr Jarvis said: “For every one gram of salt we cut from our diet, we could save 4,147 fewer premature deaths and save £288 million NHS spend.”
The health service warns that adults should have no more than six grams of salt a day, which is the equivalent of one teaspoon.
However, the World Heart Organization (WHO) recommends going even lower, with their advice stating that adults should have no more than five grams of salt per day.
While your salt shaker might be a part of the problem, the majority of salt you eat comes from groceries you buy in a supermarket.
Parsad said: “Many foods contain high salt levels that you may not be aware of.
“As well as the obvious culprits that can be high in salt like bread made with yeast, cured meats and soups, you also may want to watch out for chicken.
“Although chicken is not naturally high in salt, sometimes it is injected with a saline solution to help plump up the meat and stop it from becoming dry.
“Hidden salt content such as this makes a good case for consistently checking the salt content on the foods you buy – even ones you may feel confident are low in salt.”
Blood Pressure UK recommends looking at the nutritional information labels and choosing foods that are low in salt.
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