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Reducing Salt Intake can Reduce Heart Diseases- A Recent Study Says

The findings of a modelling study published in the open access journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health predict that a small reduction of just 1 g in daily salt intake might prevent approximately 9 million occurrences of heart disease and strokes and save 4 million lives by 2030. Consuming excessive amounts of salt increases blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Reducing Salt Intake can Reduce Heart Diseases. Hence, a diet that is heart-healthy should include a low-sodium diet.

What is a Low-Sodium diet?

A vital mineral, Sodium carries out a number of most crucial functions of our body. It naturally occurs in foods like eggs and vegetables and is a key ingredient in table salt (sodium chloride).

Even while sodium is essential for health, there are instances when it must be reduced in the diet.

People with specific medical disorders, such as heart failure, high blood pressure, and kidney disease, are frequently advised to follow a low-sodium diet.

Which food contains Sodium ?

Fresh fruits and other plant-based foods typically contain less sodium than animal-based meals like meat and dairy.

The items that are processed and packed, such as chips, frozen dinners, and fast food, contain the highest concentrations of sodium because salt is added during processing to improve flavour.

Adding salt to food while cooking and as a seasoning before eating is a significant contribution to sodium intake.

Why are Low Sodium diet Prescribed?

Although you need some sodium everyday, too much of this mineral can be harmful to your health.

  • Regular consumption of high-sodium foods can make your body retain more water. Your organs also have to work harder as a result of the more bodily fluids.
  • This increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, which can damage the function of your kidneys and heart.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA),

A healthy adult shouldn’t consume more sodium than 2,300 miligrams (mg) per day (about a teaspoon of salt). Ideal sodium intake for most persons is 1,500 mg per day.

With an average daily intake of 11 g of salt, China has one of the highest salt intakes worldwide. This is more than double the level the Chinese government advises. High salt consumption raises blood pressure and, as a result, the risk of coronary heart disease, which causes 40% of all fatalities in China annually.

In order to inform the creation of a workable salt reduction programme, the researchers set out to assess the health benefits that may be obtained by reducing salt intake across the country.

They gathered the most recent and trustworthy data on population size, salt intake, blood pressure, and disease rates by age group and location before estimating the effects of three different strategies on cardiovascular health.

The first of them called for a daily salt intake decrease of 1 g to be attained in a year. The second was the WHO’s interim goal of a 30% decrease by 2025, which translates to a steady decrease of 3.2 g/day.
The risk of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from cardiovascular disease was then calculated as a function of changes in systolic blood pressure, the higher number in a blood pressure reading that represents the force with which the heart pumps blood throughout the body.

How Can Reducing Salt intake Decrease, Heart Disease?

1. Reducing Salt intake Lowers Blood Pressure

In China, an adult typically consumes 11 g of salt per day, thus cutting this amount by 1 g per day should result in a 1.2 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure on average. By 2030, 4 million cases of heart disease and stroke may be avoided if this reduction was accomplished in a year and maintained.

If this trend continues for another ten years, an estimated 13 million heart attacks and strokes—including 6 million fatal ones—could be prevented.

2. Reducing Salt Intake will Reduce the risk of Heart Disorder and Stroke

A decrease in salt consumption of 3.2 g/day would be necessary to meet the WHO’s interim target by 2025. By 2030, a total of around 14 million cases of heart disease and stroke might be avoided, 6 million of which would be fatal, if this trend persisted for an additional five years.

If the current trend continues until 2040, there might be about 27 million instances overall, 12 million of which would be deadly.

According to the study, men and women of all ages in China would benefit from dietary salt reduction.

3. Additional Benefits of Low-Sodium Diet

The researchers speculate that there may be additional health advantages as well.

These potential advantages include:

  • secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as
  • a decrease in cases of chronic kidney disease and
  • stomach cancer.

4. It will improve Overall Health and Diet Quality

“The Chinese government’s ‘Healthy China 2030’ action plan includes dietary advice to cut back on salt, sugar, and oil consumption. According to the researchers, “our modelling analysis demonstrates that salt reduction alone might deliver huge health advantages to the entire population of China. A reduction of 1 g everyday would be extremely beneficial.”

Achieving and maintaining population salt reduction could stop millions of avoidable cardiovascular illnesses and deaths. This would also have a significant positive impact on world health.

How to Avoid High Sodium Food?

  1. Reduce the quantity of salt you consume and avoid eating salty meals. Regular salt is just as effective as sea salt.
  2. Select foods low in salt. There are several of items with less salt or none at all. Low sodium is characterised as having a serving size of 140 mg of sodium on food labels.
  3. Read the label carefully because potassium is occasionally used to make salt replacements. Before utilising such salt alternatives, consult your doctor if you are on a low potassium diet.
  4. Use different spices, herbs, lemon, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and pepper to season your cuisine. Take the salt shaker off the desk.
  5. To find foods that are rich in salt, read the ingredient labels. High sodium foods contain 400 mg or more of salt per serving. Salt, brine, and other substances labelled sodium, such as monosodium glutamate, are examples of high sodium food additives.
  6. Eat more homemade food. Compared to most fast and boxed mixes, homemade food inherently contains less sodium.
  7. Since softened water has added salt, you shouldn’t use it for drinking or cooking.
  8. Steer clear of drugs like Alka Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer that contain salt.

Sodium Rich Foods vs Low Sodium Alternatives

Sodium Rich FoodsLow Sodium Alternatives
1. Table Salt
2. Meat, fish, or poultry that has been smoked, salted, or canned.
3. frozen dinners such as burritos and pizza and meats that have been breaded
4. canned meals including chilli, ravioli, and spam
salted nuts
5. Salt-added beans in cans
6. Self-rising flour, biscuit, pancake
7. regular vegetable liquids and canned vegetables
8. pickles, and other pickled veggies
9. vegetables cooked with salted pork, bacon, or ham
10. packaged mixes, such as frozen hash browns, Tater Tots
11. commercially produced tomato sauces, salsa, and pasta
12. Commonly available canned and dried soup, broth, and bouillon
13. Noodles in a cup and prepared ramen mixes
14. Seasoning salt, soy sauce, and other sauces and marinades
1. any type of fresh or frozen fish, chicken, 2. beef, lamb, or other meat
3. eggs and egg alternatives
4. Sodium-free peanut butter
5. tinned beans with peas (not canned)
6. Sodium-free canned fish
7. Dairy Goods
8. Ice milk, yoghurt, milk, and ice cream
9. Cream cheese, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and low-sodium cheeses
10. Breads, cereals, and grains
11. unseasoned breads, bagels, and rolls
12. most ready-to-eat cereals and muffins
13. All rice and pasta, but while cooking, leave out the salt
14. maize tortillas, flour tortillas, and noodles low in sodium
15. Low-sodium breadsticks and crackers
16. Popcorn, chips, and pretzels without salt
17. Fruits and Veggies
18. soups cooked at home without salt
19. Unsalted butter, margarine, or vinegar

The Bottom Line

Diets low in salt may help with high blood pressure, chronic renal disease, and general diet quality. They might also lower the risk of stomach cancer.

However, too little sodium may have harmful consequences on health, and most individuals don’t need to follow this kind of diet. However, too much salt in your diet is harmful to your health. Too much Salt intake is like a silent killer.

Modeling studies like this one, according to Shane McAuliffe, Science and Digital Communications Lead at the NNEdPro Global Centre, “give an indicator of how specific dietary modifications have the potential to influence the course of diet-related disease.”

“Given the documented dose-response association between salt intake, systolic blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, lowering the intake of one of the highest global consumers would have a major influence on population health,” he adds.

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