Restricting salt in diet can lower heart disease risk

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Restricting salt in the diet can lower the risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent and the risk of dying from heart disease by 20 percent

Dietary intake of sodium among Indians is excessively high. Among hypertensive individuals, lowering sodium is quite well established to lower blood pressure, but now it has been shown that reducing salt also has an effect on cardiovascular disease.

According to a Harvard Medical School study published in British Medical Journal, when people with pre hypertension (blood pressure more than 120/80 and lower than 140/90), reduced their salt intake by about 25 to 35%, they were 25% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease 10 to 15 years after the trial ended. There was also a 20 percent lower death rate from cardiovascular disease among those who cut their salt consumption.

Salt restriction is best achieved by avoiding salted, salt cured and salt smoked foods such as lunch meat, hot dogs, ham, olives, pickles and regular salted canned foods, and other prepared foods, which often use more salt than homemade equivalents. Foods we would never think of as salty, such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and even some soft drinks, often contain copious additions of sodium.

WHO recommends limiting the salt intake to less than 5 grams per day.