Washington: Increased dietary salt intake can induce a group of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases, a new study has found.In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting pathogens.In recent decades scientists have observed a steady rise in the incidence of autoimmune diseases in the Western world. Since this increase cannot be explained solely by genetic factors, researchers hypothesize that the sharp increase in these diseases is linked to environmental factors.Among the suspected culprits are changes in lifestyle and dietary habits in developed countries, where highly processed food and fast food are often on the daily menu. These foods tend to have substantially higher salt content than home-cooked meals. This study is the first to indicate that excess salt intake may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases.
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