Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eating a Bit Less Salt Saves Lives

Americans' salt consumption has risen 50% over the past 40 years, mostly as a result of eating more processed foods and more food prepared in restaurants. Most people consume about 9 to 12 g (or 3,600 to 4,800 mg of sodium) per person per day - twice the recommended amount. Eating a bit less salt can have major health benefits.

Some salt is crucial for good health, of course — to regulate blood pressure and assist with muscle and nerve function — but too much (that is, at the levels we currently consume) can lead to hypertension, heart disease and stroke. If Americans halved their salt intake, as many as 150,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year, according to the American Medical Association. And new research presented March 11 by Bibbins-Domingo at the AHA's annual conference shows that even small reductions — as little as 1 g of salt per day — could have dramatic effects, saving 200,000 lives over the course of a decade. Read more

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