Warning: Too much salt may double your risk of this
Too much salt intake in your diet could double your chances of heart failure, according to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual meeting.
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 4,630 men and women collected for 12 years from 1979 and 2002. In addition to regularly collecting health status information, including weight, height and blood pressure, the participants submitted urine samples for a lab analysis of salt intake.
The researchers found that 121 individuals developed heart failure during this time period. What’s more, they found patients who consumed 13.7 grams of salt every day doubled their risk of heart failure, compared to those who consume less than 6.8 grams of salt.
The Federal Drug Administration and the American Heart Association recommend that the average individual consume no more than 2.3 mg of sodium – or about a teaspoon of table salt – each day.
“What we eat and drink plays a crucial role in heart health,” says Dr. Robert Martin, family medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “While it’s important to have some salt intake to help balance the fluids in our body, it’s important to have an awareness of how much is consumed in a day.”
To reduce your salt intake, Dr. Martin recommends the following:
- Go for fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables.
- Target potassium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables. Potassium can help reverse the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
- Add pepper or other herbs and spices to flavor food.
- If you have a craving, choose unsalted snacks.
- Learn to read food labels so you are aware of the amount of sodium in your food.
Worried about your risk of heart disease? Find out your risk by taking our simple and easy Heart Risk Assessment.
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About the Author
Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is the manager of public affairs and marketing at Illinois Masonic in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.