Another reason to hold off on the salt

The latest research has revealed yet another reason why we should use salt sparingly in our own cooking and buy less high-salt fast food. And it has nothing to do with our blood pressure.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation too much salt in food can push the immune system out of balance and cause chronic diseases.

The research team, led by Dr Katrina Binger, established that increased salt consumption by rodents leads to delayed healing of their wounds because it reduces the activity of protective immune cells.

Physicians and scientists studying nutrition have long agreed consuming too much salt in food is unhealthy and that table salt (sodium chloride) can elevate blood pressure. More recently, researchers have also discovered high-salt diets may also play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation, as well as cancer.

But this latest study as gone a step further, successfully demonstrating that too much salt in food weakens a specific group of scavenger cells (macrophages) in the immune system.

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This caused the healing of wounds to run slower – drastically increasing the chances of infection – because of the salt-related weakening of these particular scavenger cells.

Dr Binger said the clinical implications of this research are that eating too much salt doesn’t just elevate blood pressure – it compromises the balance of the immune system to directly cause chronic diseases. She plans to do further research to investigate the role of a high salt intake on diseases such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

Will this latest research make you cut down even further on high-salt takeaways? Or are there just some seasonings you cannot give up because they taste so good, salt being one of them?