It has been well documented over recent years that eating too much salt can be very bad for you. Salt has been linked the hardening of arteries and to raising blood pressure which can cause a wide range of problems for your wellness. Most healthy-eating diets and nutrition experts recommend eating as little salt as possible and so public awareness for its negative health impact is quite good. However, new research has uncovered a new reason for us to worry about how much salt we’re sprinkling on our food.
A team of researchers has reported that eating a diet laden with salt actually helps the development of autoimmune diseases, where the body’s immune system erroneously attacks healthy cells believing them to be foreign bodies that need to be gotten rid of. Three studies were examined and it was found that salt could indeed increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
This has interesting repercussions for how we view the recent rise in the diagnoses of autoimmune diseases as this research suggests that the increase could be down to environmental factors rather than genetics. This research also shows that salt affects the body in ways that we had not yet recognised. This only adds to the body of knowledge that having an excessively salt-rich diet is very bad for your overall health.
But interestingly it was actually an accidental discovery that triggered the researcher team’s interest in salt. They found out that people who ate at fast food restaurants seemed to have higher levels of inflammatory cells than others. While originally assuming that this was down in increased levels of fat it turned out that salt was in fact the culprit and an increasing risk factor for autoimmune diseases.