You probably already know that eating too much salt isn’t good for your health in general, but did you know that it could also affect your cancer risk?
Salt and cancer
Research shows that eating too much salt and salty food may increase your risk of stomach cancer.
How much salt?
Our bodies need some salt to help maintain our balance of water (hydration). Also, table salt is fortified with iodine, which you need for good health. But much of the salt we eat comes from processed food such as breakfast cereals, soups, sauces, bread, ready-made meals and snack foods (where it can be listed as sodium). We also add salt to our food at the table or in cooking.
So in general, Canadians eat more salt than they need.
Tips to cut down on salt
- Read nutrition labels to help you avoid foods that are high in salt or sodium. You may be surprised to find that even foods like breakfast cereal contain salt.
- Choose foods that are labelled as sodium-free, low-sodium, reduced (or less) sodium or unsalted.
- Remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Use less salt at the table and in cooking. Try herbs and spices instead.
- Remove salt from recipes whenever possible.
- Eat preserved foods in small amounts and only once in a while. Preserved foods such as salted fish, salted meats and pickled foods are very high in salt.
- Buy unsalted nuts and lower-sodium crackers.
- Cut down on sauces such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup because these are usually very high in salt.
- Limit how often you eat processed foods.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.