New Delhi: How much salt to include in our diets has always been a controversial subject, but a European study has concluded that salt consumption is not dangerous and may in fact, be beneficial.
The study contradicts the American Medical Association, American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which advocate that higher sodium consumption can increase the risk of heart disease.
The researchers studied 3,681 middle-aged Europeans who did not have high blood pressure or heart disease.
The participants were divided into three groups: low salt; moderate salt and high salt consumption. The results showed there were 50 deaths in the low salt group, 24 in the moderate consumption group and only 10 in the high consumption group.
Furthermore, the heart disease risk in the low consumption group was 56 pc higher. Hence, the researchers concluded that lesser salt the participants ate, the more likely they would die from heart disease.
"The optimal level of salt in our diets has been a controversial subject for at least 20 years," said co-authors Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel.
"There is no disagreement that high blood pressure (even moderately high) is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. However, salt consumption does not seem to have the same effect on everyone. In addition, there is usually no distinction on the type of salt used.
There are many naturally harvested salts that also contain many trace minerals, which undoubtedly have an effect. Medical literature on salt consumption (like many other things) is inconsistent," Griesel added.