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Bread, cereals linked to stomach cancer risk

25/07/2012 9:00:00 AM
Bread and cereals linked to stomach cancer risk
Bread and cereals linked to stomach cancer risk

We hardly know which way to turn these days with contradictory studies about what is and what isn't good for you.

But the most recent research suggests that lowering daily salt intake could significantly reduce stomach cancer risk.

Too much salt, as found in many breads and cereals, is known to increase blood pressure and increase the chances of heart disease and strokes, but it can also contribute to stomach cancer, according to research from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide.

As many as one in seven stomach cancers in the UK would be prevented if people limited their salt intake to six grams a day, according to a BBC report.

And with New Zealanders' salt intake at a similar level to the UK's, we all need to heed the warning.

Around one million cases of stomach cancer were recorded in 2008, accounting for around eight per cent of all new cancer cases.

It is predicted that the number of cases will rise to 1.7 million by 2030.

Age-standardised incidence rates are about twice as high in men as in women.

According to the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH), a high salt intake strips the stomach lining, making us susceptible to infection from a type of bacteria that can lead to pre-cancerous changes in the stomach lining.

AWASH recommends we limit intake to six grams per day.

The WCRF is calling for a "traffic light" system for food labeling, where red would signify the most unhealthy foods, amber the middle choices and green the healthiest options.

While reducing salt intake is a good idea, cigarette smoking remains the biggest cause of stomach cancer.

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