Most processed food and restaurant food is loaded with salt, making our food tasty and addictive but incredibly unhealthy. A study published Wednesday now points to another frightening side effect of all the excessive salt we eat: autoimmune diseases. The research was published in Nature.
The research found that the amount of salt currently in our diet is causing our immune systems to rebel against us, BBC News reported, leading to diseases like multiple sclerosis. People have traditionally thought of autoimmune diseases as something caused by genetics, as opposed to environmental factors like diet.
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But the researchers say they now have proof that there's more to MS than bad genes. "These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment," one of the salt study authors told Food Navigator.
There has been a striking increase in autoimmune diseases in the Western world in recent decades, Science Daily reported. Many researchers have suspected that environmental factors are to blame, but this is the first study that implicates salt.
This research is published just as a separate group of researchers found a link between processed meat and premature death.