A recent study that blew up in the media concluded that decreasing the salt content of the diet too drastically may double your risk of death. Let me caution you to not start coating the rim of that margarita glass just yet with those white crystals. The group studied were 51 years or older with either hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes. Subjects that showed this negative result had a daily intake of 1,800 mg per day of sodium or less. The study concluded that subjects had higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke if their dietary sodium intake was reduced too much. You will find the study in the May 4, 2013 of JAMA (Journal Of The American Medical Association).
Renovating Your Mind thinks that media can’t take the subgroups above with regards to sodium and extrapolate the results to the entire population. The study had patients with damaged blood vessels throughout their bodies from various long-term medical problems. Damaged blood vessels will react differently to sodium than normal blood vessels.
If your blood pressure changes when your dietary sodium increases you are referred to as “salt sensitive.” Some researchers think that only these “salt sensitive” individuals should lower their salt intake. Other experts say that everyone should lower their dietary consumption of sodium.
Ways to measure “salt sensitive” are unavailable. You are at higher risk of sensitivity based on age, sex, genetic predisposition, kidney health and race.
How much sodium is really necessary in the diet? How much sodium in the diet will increase health risks?
In the United States, we consume an average of 3,400 mg (3.4 grams) of salt per day. It was recommended by the AHA (American Heart Association) that we should limit sodium in out diet to 2,300 mg a day. New guidelines from the AHA lowered that figure to 1,500 mg daily. This JAMA study listed above results show that below 1,800 mg per day of sodium, there is double the risk for death. That is for high risk populations with long-term damage due to various diseases mentioned previously.
Everyone should get their blood pressure checked periodically. You can’t base high blood pressure on one reading. It’s an average of readings over a period of days.
WAYS TO CUT DOWN ON SODIUM
- Purchase NuSalt (potassium chloride) in place of salt for cooking at home. Potassium neutralizes the pressure raising effects of sodium. The taste is slightly different but worth the change.
- Consume approximately 1 oz of salt-free nuts and seeds daily. They contain magnesium which will relax the blood vessels, usually lowering blood pressure.
- Consume sufficient calcium which stabilizes the blood pressure.
- Cut back on eating out. Restaurants load food up with sodium.
- When eating outside the home, ask for sauces and salad dressings on the side.
- Reduce condiments such as mustard, soy sauce, other asian sauces and dressings.
Prevent the problem so you don’t have to suffer from the “symptomatic” cure of pharmaceutical agents. One ounce of prevention is worth thousands of pounds of pills.
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