Monday, October 26, 2015 - 09:02
Research: Less salt prevents thousands of strokes, heart attacks
Tens of thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented in the coming years by simply making processed foods less salty, or replacing them with low-salt alternatives. This is according to PhD research done by Marieke Hendriksen, scientist at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment - RIVM, NOS reports. Hendriksen's research found that if producers halved the amount of salt in their food, the Dutch population would consume 40 percent less salt. That would lead to nearly 30 thousand fewer heart attacks and more than 53 thousand fewer strokes in the next 20 years. Using alternative, low-salt foods would lead to similar figures. The RIVM scientist conducted her research over the period 2006 to 2010. In 2006 and 2010 she collected the urine of 317 and 342 Doetinchem inhabitants over a 24 hour period and calculated the daily salt intake. In 2006 this amounted to 8.7 milligrams per day and in 2010 to 8.5 milligrams, much more than the recommended 6 milligrams a day. The findings also showed that measures taken by food manufacturers to reduce the salt content in their products had very little effect over this period. According to Hendriksen, this means that a large effort from both the food industry and consumers themselves will be necessary for her scenarios to become a reality.