As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, we’re all doing our best to take care of ourselves—and our immune systems. And according to new research out of the University Hospital Bonn in Germany, one important factor to consider is your salt intake.
Of course, it’s well known that too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which increases someone’s risk for heart attack and stroke. But this study is the first to prove that excessive salt consumption significantly weakens the immune system. In fact, people who ate an extra 6 grams of salt above the recommended daily amount show “pronounced immune deficiencies.”
So, how much salt should you be consuming? The World Health Organization (WHO) has a standard recommendation of no more than 5 grams of salt per day. That’s about one level teaspoon—but remember—sodium is often mixed into processed foods, along with the extra we sprinkle on our cooking.
According to WHO, we likely consume much more than 5 grams, with an average estimate of daily salt consumption sitting at around 9 to 12 grams. But they also note that it’s a good idea to reduce salt intake below the daily average, citing it as one of the most cost-effective ways to improve health.