Stroke risk cut 25% by switching to lower salt foods: Australian report

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th March 2012

A new report from The George Institute for Global Health, in New South Wales, claims that cutting dietary salt by five grams a day by switching to healthier foods would reduce stroke risk by one quarter.

The report was launched today to coincide with World Salt Awareness Week (25 March – 2 April 2012) which has ‘Salt and Stroke’ as this year’s theme.

The George Institute report shows how switches from one processed food to another can help people to lower their dietary salt daily intake.

The Australian government recommends consuming four to six grams of salt each day. However, according to research from the George Institute, most Australians eat far more than that target, with consumption levels in recent studies suggesting daily average intake is about nine grams.

The report used data from FoodSwitch, a smartphone application recently released through collaboration between Bupa Australia and the George Institute. The app allows users to scan food product bar codes and suggests healthier alternatives. The iPhone app was launched in January an Android version is being launched today.

The George Institute’s Senior Director, Professor Bruce Neal, who is also Chairman of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) said, “It’s important to remember that it’s not just the salt people add at the table that matters. Most salt is hidden in processed and fast foods so that even people who don’t add salt are still eating far more salt than is good for them.”

Dr Stan Goldstein of Bupa added, “The app is being used by doctors to help patients manage their health risks, but also by parents to teach their children about healthier eating, using real-time on-the-spot examples as they consider what goes into the shopping trolley.”