Tanzania: Experts Warn Over High Daily Intake of Salt

Dar es Salaam — As the world marked a Salt Intake Reduction Week between March 8 and March 14, experts warned that excessive intake of salt could lead to serious health problems.

Nutritional experts told The Citizen that, despite salt being an avenue to provide bodies with iodine, excessive intake could lead to hypertension, as well as heart and kidney related diseases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) requires that an average of five and six grammes of salt should be consumed by a person per day. Urbanisation has brought a new feeding habit whereby people have been adding salt even to maize, avocado, cucumbers, mangoes etc on top of industrial processed food. Fried Irish potatoes, fish, beef, vegetables and baking powder named food with higher salt levels.

WHO specified that high sodium consumption (>2 grams/day, equivalent to 5g salt/day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 grams/day) leads to hypertension and subject people to risks of stroke and heart diseases.

“Salt is the main source of sodium in our diets, although it can come from sodium glutamate, used as a condiment in many parts of the world,” WHO says.

However, WHO says most people consume an average of nine to 12 grams of salt per day, saying for adults salt intake of less than five grams per day reduces blood pressure as well as risks of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and coronary heart attack.

“WHO member states have agreed to reduce salt intake by 30 percent reaching 2025,” says the global body, saying reducing salt intake has been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes.