The Shocking Connection Between Salt And Premature Death

What would we do without salt and pepper? These pantry essentials are among the most popular seasonings, and they' are used throughout the world. Real Simple reports that salt is actually called sodium chloride, "a crystalline compound" that has the main function of seasoning food. However, not all salt is equal, and there are many types of salt to choose from: table salt, kosher salt, Himalayan pink salt, fleur de sel, sea salt, and Hawaiian salt are just some of the varieties. Each type of salt has unique characteristics, and different dishes and ingredients go with different kinds of salt, so choose wisely (via Country Living). 

According to The Spruce Eats, salt functions not only as a flavor enhancer, but also as a texture enhancer, a food preservative, a color enhancer, a binding agent, and a source of nutrients. Salt rocks, but we can only hope you won't be too salty when we tell you there's a connection between salt and premature death.

People who add extra salt to their food are 28% more likely to die from premature death than those who don't

Food Dive reports that there are many people who always add salt to their food. Unfortunately, a study out of the European Heart Journal in June 2022 says that those people are 28% more likely to die from premature death when compared to people who don't add extra salt to their meals.

But even if you don't add salt to everything you eat, there are many chain restaurant meals that contain too much sodium, so if you're a frequent visitor to chain restaurants, beware. The main offenders include Applebee's Classic Combo, TGI Fridays' Southern Fried Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, and Cheesecake Factory's Pasta Napoletana (per Eat This, Not That!). 

The study found that men who always add extra salt to their food lose an average of 2.3 years of life, while women who do the same lose 1.5 years. That's a lot of years off for adding those tiny crystals into our food. But there may be a bit of a workaround for this. People who ate large amounts of fruits and veggies were less affected by salt intake. So if you have a habit of adding salt to your food, try eating fruit seasoned with salt — according to Eater, it will bring out the fruit's natural sweetness in the process.

Either way, be sure to check out what happens when you eat too much salt.