Salt consumption among Turks is three times more than the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended daily amount of 5 grams. Özkan Orhun, an İzmir-based health director, said excessive salt consumption can lead to various diseases and cautioned people to not consume too much salt.
He stressed that salt might lead to stomach cancer, osteoporosis and kidney diseases, and added: "Turkey ranks first in the world for salt-related causes of death. Salt is one of the main reasons for the deaths of numerous people every day in Turkey. Excessive salt consumption is an alterable unhealthy dietary practice and the reason behind many chronic illnesses." Orhun said high blood pressure, one of the outcomes of excessive salt consumption, is the greatest risk factor for preventable causes of death in the world. "Excessive salt consumption causes blood pressure to rise, and this high blood pressure causes cardiac diseases - one of the main causes of death in Turkey," Orhun said. He added that the Health Ministry initiated a program to reduce salt consumption in 2011.
"The Health Ministry and the WHO advise reducing daily salt consumption in order to control blood pressure not only for adults but children between the ages of 2 and 15 as well. While the maximum recommended amount of sodium is 2 grams per day for adults, this amount should be reduced and adjusted for children according to their energy needs. Do not place a salt shaker on your dinner table," he said. Orhun also said people should incorporate more herbs and seasonings like mint, thyme, fennel, basil, vinegar and lemon instead of salt. "Food that is composed of too much salt such as pickles, food with lots of salt and mineral water should be consumed in a limited amount. Do not add salt to the meal without even tasting it. If you use salt, prefer iodized salt," Orhun added.
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