A pinch less salt a day keeps heart disease at bay

A pinch less salt a day keeps heart disease at bay


Evidence shows that lowering the daily salt intake by 2.5 grams – about half a teaspoonful – reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease or stroke by about 25 per cent, the director-general of health, Ray Busuttil said yesterday.

The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Department has teamed up with Jesper’s Danish Bakery, which has started making salt-free bread. Addressing a press conference in Freedom Square, Valletta, to mark World Salt Awareness Week, Dr Busuttil said that a high intake of salt has been linked to high blood pressure, which is common among the Maltese, and increases the risk of developing heart and kidney disease.

It is recommended that adults limit their daily salt intake to five grams. The latest Health Interview Survey showed that 23 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men reported suffering from high blood pressure. Most preserved and processed food (including sauces such as ketchup and mustard), also contains a lot of salt. It is highly recommended to eat more fresh than processed food, avoiding salt in cooking and instead using herbs, spices, zest from citrus fruit and fresh juice to jazz up meals. Dr Busuttil said it is estimated that about 47 per cent of people in Malta use salt in cooking, and about 25 per cent add salt to their food at table.

The head of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Department, Charmaine Gauci, said high salt intake is also linked to other conditions such as obesity, which is also very common among the Maltese. Jesper’s Danish Bakery’s salt-free range of bread (Salt-Free White Loaf and Salt-Free Wholemeal Loaf with Oats) has been specifically developed to help people lower their intake of sodium and salt. The oats, oat flour and wholemeal flour used in the Salt-Free Wholemeal with Oats can also help control blood lipid levels and cholesterol levels.