Study finds consuming excessive salt can cause hypertension, heart disease – Times of India

Study finds consuming excessive salt can cause hypertension, heart disease – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: Intake of nutrients necessary for good cardiovascular and kidney health is suboptimal among the population in North India, according to a new study, which has shown excessive salt consumption exceeding recommended levels, inadequate potassium intake, and protein consumption below the recommended dietary allowance.
The results of the study conducted by researchers of the George Institute for Global Health India, in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, emphasised on the need for personalised changes in diet to reduce the risks of common non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The study focuses on the intake of sodium, potassium, phosphorus and protein which have an impact on the risk of developing non-communicable diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease-fast-growing health challenges in the country.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, involved over 400 adult participants encompassing healthy adults and those with early-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD). It utilised a 24-hour urinary excretion analysis to assess nutrient intake. This method is considered more accurate than dietary recall because it is less prone to errors related to memory or estimation of portion sizes. The steps have been taken to ensure the urine samples’ reliability for analysis.
Excessive salt consumption and inadequate potassium intake are both seen to increase the risk of development of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease
Men exhibited higher nutrient intake compared to women.
“A poor nutritious diet is a major risk element for non-communicable diseases (NCD), which are of considerable public health concern. In India, people consume different foods, so it is important to know exactly what nutrients they are getting to help prevent and manage these diseases. The high salt intake and low potassium intake point to the need to develop interventions targeted at individuals and societies,” said Prof. Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director of the institute and a neurologist.
The study also emphasises the importance of accurate dietary assessments to provide personalised advice and develop effective policies.
Emphasising the urgency for public awareness campaigns, individual counselling, and food policy reforms, Jha further said, “The study shows that it is important to have dietary guidelines that are specific to the local areas. We need to take action to fix imbalances in nutrients and encourage people to eat more healthily by increasing diversity.”
To lower the risks of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), researchers suggested multifaceted strategies, including providing better information on food labels so people can make healthier choices, reducing salt in processed foods, and encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables rich in potassium.
The study also shows how to take proactive steps to fight NCDs, fostering a healthier future for North Indian communities.
This project was supported by funding from the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India Science and Engineering Research Board, New Delhi, and the Department of Biotechnology-Welcome Trust, India Alliance.

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