Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).

The expert panel found that foods preserved by salting probably increase the chance of developing stomach cancer. These are mainly high-salt foods and salt-preserved foods, including pickled vegetables and salted or dried fish, as traditionally prepared in east Asia. Studies have shown that high salt intake can damage the lining of the stomach. This is one way in which it might increase the risk of stomach cancer.

The most recent evidence for salt as a cause of stomach cancer is less strong. But it remains a health concern, so our daily intake of salt should be less than 2,400 milligrams. We actually need much less than this. Most people in the United States currently consume more than 2,300 mg, but there are simple ways to cut down on our intake.

Most of the salt in our diets comes from processed foods. We are not always aware that these foods are high in salt because they may not taste "salty," so make sure to read the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label. Watch out for breakfast cereals, bread, frozen meals, pizza and chips. Also, check the amount of sodium in canned products, such as soups and sauces, and avoid processed meats. Even sweet foods like cookies can contain high levels of salt.