Experts have gathered enough evidence to prove the link between high sodium and sugar consumption, obesity and accelerated aging.
High Salt Intake Leads to Faster Cell Aging
American researchers found out that teenagers who have excess sodium levels from eating salty foods are beginning to show several signs of faster cell aging. In addition, these eating habit also puts them at greater risk of having heart disease. In another study, researchers from Georgia Regents University claim that reducing salt intake can significantly help slow down the aging process of human cells.
Faster Cell Aging as Manifested in Telomeres Length
The signs of aging were evident in the length of telomeres. Telomeres are those biological caps located at the end of each chromosome that serve as a protection of our DNA against damage. Salt intake contributes to the accumulation of fats in the body and this occurrence was found by experts to shorten the length of telomeres.
This was proven in a study conducted on 766 youngsters aged 14-18 years old. Experts found out that obese adolescents who have higher salt intake had shorter telomeres length. Although telomeres naturally decrease in length as people age, high salt consumption, which also contributes to being overweight or obese is one factor that speeds up its process of shortening.
A team of experts from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey studied the telomeres structure of 1,122 women between the ages 18 to 76 and 119 of these subjects were obese. What they concluded is that as an individual’s body weight increases, the length of their telomeres decreases.
Women who have lean bodies have longer telomeres than women who were obese. Another important discovery from the research is that people who have higher levels of leptin (which is a hormone produced by fat cells) were also found to have shorter telomeres. When telomeres length decreases to an extent that they become too short to divide, they die, then signs of aging begin.
This results in accelerated aging which is made evident in the early onset of signs and symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses.
Increased Salt Intake Leads to Increased Sugar Intake
A Finnish study revealed that increased consumption of salty foods increases a person’s risk of being obese or overweight. This is because individuals who have excessive salt consumption also have a higher tendency to consume more sugary beverages. Scientists from the University of Kuopio and University of Helsinki stated that increased salt intake increases the desire to consume sugar-laden fizzy drinks to relieve their thirst. Unfortunately, this diet is devoid of nutrients but high in calories. In combination, high salt and sugar consumption are a large contributor to weight gain, thereby increasing an individual’s risk of serious lifestyle-related illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Minimizing Salt Intake Can Also Lead to Reduced Mortality Rate
When experts studied the medical data of Finland residents, they were able to ascertain that reducing salt intake by 30 per cent was enough to lessen the mortality rate by up to 80 per cent in people who suffered from coronary heart disease and stroke. By reducing the consumption of salt the lifespan of Finnish individuals was found to increase by an average of 6 to 7 years.