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Decrease salt, decrease cancer?

Some countries with high salt intake actually have lower cancer rates
Some countries with high salt intake actually have lower cancer rates
Photo by: World cancer Research Fund

One of the recommendations from the diet and nutrition industry is that you should reduce your salt intake as one of the steps to reducing your risk of cancer. While there are many health benefits from controlling your sodium intake, there is some conflicting evidence in regards to sodium.

An article released by Nutrition Bulletin of British Nutrition Foundation listed the salt intake of a sampling of countries, all which exceeded the recommended limit of less than 6 grams. The confusing part is, of the 6 countries that were listed as having a higher salt intake than the US, all had lower cancer rates, as reported by the World Cancer Research Fund. Only one country on the list, Australia, had a higher rate of cancer, and that countries population actually consumed less salt.

Of the countries that consume more salt than the US, Hungary, which consumes nearly twice the amount of salt placed 16th on the list of the 50 countries with the highest cancer rates (the US was ranked number 6). Two of the countries, Chili and South Africa were not listed in the top 50.

The evidence seems to indicate that there is something more going on in the diet than the amount of salt that's consumed.

One explanation for the recommendation to reduce salt intake is that people that actively control their sodium levels tend to eat an all-around healthier diet. Lowering salt by a significant amount requires limiting the amount of fast food, and overly processed foods. Eliminating these from your diet will result in improved overall health.

There are good reasons to control the amount of salt in your food. Make sure you are doing your own research, and making the best choices for you and your situation.

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