We recently got a memo from your heart: put down the saltshaker!
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that most Americans consume double the milligrams (mg) of sodium that they should. A high-salt diet can lead to hypertension, which is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease (the number one killer of Americans) and stroke (number three on the list).
Most Americans shouldn’t consume more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day. However, according to the study, from 2005-2006 the average intake was more like 3,436 mg.
"It’s important for people to eat less salt. People who adopt a heart-healthy eating pattern that includes a diet low in sodium and rich in potassium and calcium can improve their blood pressure," said Darwin R. Labarth, director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. "Reducing sodium intake can prevent or delay increases in blood pressure for everyone."
The CDC said that most of us consume the most salt when we’re indulging in restaurant food or messing with anything that’s packaged or processed. To combat this, they’ll be working with restaurant chains and packaged food makers to reduce sodium levels across the board.
Nearly all Americans belong to the low-sodium group, meaning that they should limit their salt to 1,500 mg or less per day. You definitely should if you are Black, at least 40-years old, or have high blood pressure already. 1,500 mg is the equivalent of about two-thirds of a teaspoon.
In our country, 16 million people have heart disease and 5.8 million are thought to have had a stroke. By reducing your daily salt intake, you can lower your blood pressure and the reduce the chances of developing other heart disease and stroke risk factors, like obesity and low levels of "good" cholesterol.
For more information about heart-health matters, visit the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.