A Second Benefit to Watching Salt
A low-sodium diet is good for your heart. But you might also keep cancer risk low if you limit these two salty treats: pickles and anchovies.
A recent Japanese study suggests that diets with ample amounts of pickled vegetables and salt-cured fish may increase the risk of cancer -- bumping it up as much as 15 percent. So skip the dill chips on your burger and the little fish on your pizza pie.
In a Pickle
In the study of middle-aged Japanese folks, the people whose diets included the most pickled items and salt-preserved fish had a higher risk of cancer compared with the people who consumed the lowest amounts of these foods. And all it took was the equivalent of a couple of dill pickle spears a day and a 1-ounce serving of salted, dried fish to put people in the high-consumer group. (Here are some tasty, healthy toppings that will turn your turkey burger into a cancer killer instead.)
A Better Taste Trend
A growing body of research suggests that salt is more than a blood-pressure spiker. Too much of it may also raise the risk of several types of cancer, especially stomach cancer. And in the recent Japanese study, researchers suspect that not only the sodium but also other compounds in salty foods may open the door to cancer-causing cell changes. It could be that high amounts of salt injure the stomach lining and set the stage for stomach cancer. Or it might be that other compounds in certain salted foods may be carcinogenic (one example: the N-nitroso compounds in salt-cured fish). Use this cheat sheet for low-sodium cooking to keep your salt intake below the RealAge-recommended limit of 1,600 milligrams per day.