Research: WHO-recommended ‘5g daily salt intake’ can save 4 million lives every year

According to a recent online publication in the British Medical Journal, the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended 5g, or one teaspoon, daily salt intake can help save as many as four million lives round the globe every year.

However, with people in the UK and other Western countries consuming nearly 10g of salt per day, on an average, the findings of researchers from UK and Italy have revealed that excess salt intake is directly linked with the risk of stroke or heart disease.

Led by Professor Francesco Cappuccio, the researchers, who reviewed 13 studies involving over 170,000 people between 1996 and 2008, found that for people regularly consuming 5g of salt a day too much, the risk of heart stroke was 23 percent higher; while their chances of developing heart disease were 17 percent more than the others.

Noting that the studies involved over 10,000 "vascular events" like heart attacks or strokes, the researchers wrote: "The habitual salt intake in most Western countries is close to 10g a day, and much higher in many Eastern European and Asian countries."

Further adding that a stroke is fatal in one out of three cases, and heart disease kills one in five who have it, the researchers further estimated that the maximum daily salt consumption of 5g could help avoid 1.25 million deaths from stroke and nearly 3 three million deaths from cardiovascular disease every year.