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Curtail salt intake to reduce the risk of stomach cancer, study

Posted:  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stomach cancer is a common form of cancer in the European nations with a very poor prognosis. Helicobacter pylori infection is the most common cause of stomach cancer. However, European scientists have found a direct relationship between salt consumption and stomach cancer risk.

Although the mechanism behind this association is still being explored, scientists believe that high salt intake may encourage the growth of H. pylori and make it more toxic to the cells of the stomach.

“Most of us know that salt is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. However, I suspect very few people are aware that a high-salt diet may also increase the risk of stomach cancer” said the scientists.

The European Commission and many European countries have started a campaign to reduce salt intake. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises consumption of no more than 5 g of salt, which translates to less than 1 teaspoon per day. Many people however overshoot this target by consuming processed foods such as bread, cheese, breakfast cereals and prepared meals.

The scientists suggest some easy ways to reduce salt intake in the diet. They recommend opting for reduced salt versions of favourite foods and cutting down on the consumption of cured meats, cheese, and sauces which are known to have high salt content. These changes coupled with eliminating table salt and adding less salt during cooking will ensure that one is at a low risk of developing a wide spectrum of diseases such as stroke, hypertension and even stomach cancer.

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