The latest research from the US highlights the importance of limiting the amount of salt in your diet, as it seems consuming too much over a long period of time could cause serious damage to your blood vessels.
In the UK, adults are advised to consume no more than 6g of salt per day, with children supposed to have even less. But the average person exceeds this amount, often as a result of eating hidden salt in pre-packed and processed foods.
According to scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US, this could cause serious damage to the blood vessels and may lead to persistent high blood pressure or 'hypertension'.
The research team looked at the sodium intake of more than 5,500 people in The Netherlands over an average of 6.4 years, taking multiple urine samples to analyse the links between sodium intake and blood vessel damage.
They found that people with a consistently high intake of sodium - one gram of which is equal to 2.5g of table salt - tended to have increased levels of uric acid and albumin, which are markers for blood vessel damage.
Analysis also revealed that people with the highest intake of sodium were 21 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure.
When the two factors were combined, the researchers found that people with high urine albumin levels and the highest intake of salt were 86 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those with neither.
Lead study author Dr John Forman, whose findings are published in Circulation journal, said there is now "considerable evidence" that a high-salt diet is linked to high blood pressure. He added that the study reinforces guidelines "that recommend reducing salt consumption to minimise the risk of developing high blood pressure".