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Older people may be eating too much salt

6th July 2007

Older people may be eating more salt as their taste buds become less effective in old age.

This can increase their risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, according to the British Dietetic Association, which says they should be made aware of the risks so they can ensure they do not consume too much salt.

Alison Smith, nutritionist for the British Dietetic Association, said: "The biggest problem is that elderly people's taste acuity (how easily they can actually taste things) actually decreases.

"And because salt is a flavour enhancer, it can be that [elderly] people actually want more salt in their food so that their food has more flavour."

She continued, explaining why this is a particular risk for older people: "A lot of people's blood pressure gets higher as they get older and the more salt they eat, the higher their blood pressure will be as well."