In the past few decades doctors have identified a connection between high salt intake and high blood pressure. The mineral salt or sodium chloride is vital to the health of humans and animals. However, salt is only needed in small quantities. Excessive amounts of salt can cause health problems including heart disease.
Impact on Blood Pressure
A 2007 study concluded that people who had high blood pressure decreased their risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent when they substantially lowered their salt consumption. Their risk of dying from heart disease also decreased by 20 percent.
The American Food and Drug Administration (ADA) does not make a specific recommendation on the amount of sodium you should consume. The ADA does suggest that you should consult the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
A recent study was released that documented that nine out of every ten Americans eat too much salt every day. The average daily salt consumption of the nearly 5,000 Americans surveyed was 3,500 milligrams. This number is nearly 1,000 milligrams more than the recommended amount. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that Americans limit their daily sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams. The AHA is working with food manufacturer’s and restarants to decrease the amount of salt in food by fifty percent by the year 2013.
Nearly two-thirds of the salt that Americans consume comes from fast food items such as pizza and lunch meat. A whopping 77 percent of the daily salt Americans eat comes from restaurant and processed foods. Salt is so prevalent in prepared foods that it is difficult to successfully limit it. Many years ago salt was the only way that food could be preserved. Some people argue that the majority of salt currently added to food production could be drastically slashed without causing major taste changes. Part of the problem is that some foods that you would never think contain salt do contain salt. Cookies and crackers often have a lot of salt even though they do not taste salty. In recent years there have been low-salt versions of food showing up in grocery stores.
There is no longer any doubt whether or not a high salt intake makes your blood pressure rise. Studies have provided proof of that fact. Lowering your salt intake is an easy way to help lower your blood pressure. The only way to know whether or not something is high in salt is to read the nutrition label. Then you can make an informed sensible decision about what to put into your body.
Limiting your salt consumption will help keep your blood pressure under control and lower your risk of heart problems. This will also lessen your chances of developing heart disease. The first step to lowering your salt intake is to take that salt shaker off of your kitchen table. If you do not see it, you will not use it.