Less Salt Equals Less Cardiovascular Disease
Approximately 17 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year, and salt is believed to be a major contributor to the problem. It can increase blood pressure by retaining excess fluid and increasing stress on the heart and has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. This isn't just an adult problem, 97 percent of children in the United States eat too much salt.
Researchers believe they have found proof that a reduction of salt in the diet can prevent cardiovascular diesease. They conducted a study, published in BMJ Online
, that analysed official health and lifestyle data that covered 8 years, including the Health Survey for England
and the national diet and nutrition survey. They found that in England average salt consumption fell 15% from 2003 to 2011, At the same time, deaths from heart disease and stroke fell by approximately 40 percent.The researchers are convinced that the two statistics demonstrate a strong link between salt consumption and cardiovascular disease. More research is needed and is ongoing.
More research from the Archives of Internal Medicine
supports these findings and found that eating a high sodium, low potassium diet leads to a higher risk of dying a heart attack. They stress the importance of potassium in the diet. They found that people with the highest sodium consumption had a 20 percent higher risk of death than people with the lowest sodium intake, while those with the highest potassium intakes had a 20 percent lower risk of dying than people with the lowest potassium intakes. Most importantly, those with the highest ratio of sodium to potassium in their diets doubled their risk of dying of a heart attack than those with the lowest ratio, and had a 50 percent higher risk of death from any cause.
The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Americans eat almost twice that ... a lot of it is from processed food!
If you're not sure how to lower your salt intake, read The Hidden Salt in Our Food
from January on Peter's blog.
Reducing the amount of salt in food is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. With fresh produce about to flood the grocer's aisles, this is a great time to make some changes!