Avoiding adding salt to food may help adults live longer

An assortment of bright fruits and vegetables

Through a study with more than 400,000 participants who shared information about their health through the UK Biobank, researchers found those who skipped the salt shaker lived about one to two years longer compared to those who always added salt to food. The research published in the European Heart Journal with an editorial about ways these findings could be applied to support the health of individuals and populations.  

As part of this longitudinal review, the researchers controlled for multiple variables, including lifestyle, diet, medical, and socioeconomic factors. They used self-assessments, dietary recalls, and urine samples to capture information about adults who never (55%), sometimes (28%), usually (12%), or always (5%) added salt to food. They also found that adults who added salt to food but who also ate more fruits and vegetables, which can be rich in potassium, had slightly reduced risks for premature death. They conclude more research is needed to validate these findings, but the study suggests that even a moderate reduction in sodium would likely result in substantial health benefits.  

The research was supported by NHLBI and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.