For years we've been told to lower our salt intake for our health. It is advisable to reduce a salt consumption for people who had risk of heart disease. As it turns out, this seemingly harmless recommendation is actually putting us at a higher risk for conditions like heart disease and stroke. Although salt has been construed as an evil substance which harms our heart health, new research suggest that a little amount of salt may be just as harmful as too much.
Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario looked at data from drug trials involving nearly 30,000 individuals who already had heart disease or diabetes. Participants of these trials had their sodium intake measured through urine analysis and were followed for an average of four to five years to record the incidence of heart-related hospitalizations and deaths.
After adjusting of such factors like medications, weight, smoking and cholesterol levels, researchers found that too little salt is doing harm instead of good. Those who consumed between 4,000 and 6,000 milligrams of sodium per day ― more than double of current recommendations ― were at the least risk for heart disease and stroke.
People who consumed a considerably low amount of salt didn't experience less risk, but more. Researchers found that people who consume 2,000 to 3,000 mg of sodium per day were actually 20 percent more likely to experience heart diseases death or hospitalization, compared to those consuming between 4,000 and 6,000 mg daily.
But don't take this as a reason for eating unlimited amounts of salt. Moderation appears to be a key because consuming too much salt puts you at even higher risk. Those who consumed more than 8,000 mg of sodium per day were 50 to 70 percent more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, or to be hospitalized or die from heart disease.
Results of aforementioned study indicate that people who already consume a moderate amount of sodium do not benefit from lowering their salt intake. In fact, it may even harm them.
Dr. Martin O'Donnell, lead author of the study and associate clinical professor of medicine at McMaster University, says: "When you take people at more moderate intake levels, there is emerging uncertainty whether there are long-term benefits of reducing sodium intake further."
The new report, published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, contradicts that many of us have been told about salt. The research team involved urges officials to recommend a safer range of sodium intake rather than to set a single rigid limit.
Scientists recommend to choose a natural salt like sea salt instead of highly refined commercial salt, which contains harmful additives and lacks a balanced mineral profile.
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