But, in a dramatic U-turn, the scientific evidence has suggested the opposite can also be true.
A global study has found that, contrary to past belief, low-salt diets may not be beneficial.
Rather, they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, compared with average salt consumption.
The study, published in the reputable Lancet journal, has garnered strong reaction, with one expert declaring his 'disbelief', while others are critical of the study's methods, and calling its findings into question.
The research was carried out by investigators at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
They analyzed more than 130,000 people across 49 countries, focusing on whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure.
Their findings showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-salt intake is linked to a greater incidence of heart attacks, stroke, and deaths compared to average intake.
Dr Andrew Mente, lead author, and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, hailed the findings 'extremely important' for those suffering high blood pressure.
He said: 'While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension (high blood pressure), it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3601799/Eating-LITTLE-salt-INCREASE-risk-heart-attack-stroke-claims-controversial-new-research.html#ixzz49INSokxJ