TUESDAY, July 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher frequency of adding salt to foods is associated with an increased risk for all-cause premature mortality, according to a study published online July 10 in the European Heart Journal.

Hao Ma, M.D., Ph.D., from Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues examined whether the frequency of adding salt to foods was associated with the risk for premature mortality and life expectancy among 501,379 participants from the U.K. Biobank. A touch-screen questionnaire was administered at baseline to collect information on the frequency of adding salt to foods.

The researchers found that during a median of 9.0 years of follow-up, there were 18,474 premature deaths. Across increasing frequency of adding salt to foods, the hazard ratios (95 percent confidence intervals) of all-cause premature mortality were 1.00 (reference), 1.02 (0.99 to 1.06), 1.07 (1.02 to 1.11), and 1.28 (1.20 to 1.35) for never/rarely, sometimes, usually, and always, respectively. The association between the frequency of adding salt to foods and all-cause premature mortality was significantly modified by intake of fruit and vegetables; this association was more pronounced in those with low versus high intakes of fruits and vegetables. In men, always adding salt to foods was related to 2.28 years lower life expectancy at the age of 50 years compared with the never/rarely adding salt group.

“Not adding extra salt to food is unlikely to be harmful and could contribute to strategies to lower population blood pressure levels,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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