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In The News: Low-Salt Diet May Harm Your Health

5/6/2011 11:39:05 AM

Tags: Salt, In The News, Health, Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Low-Salt Diet

S.CollinsIt turns out that we need more salt in our diets than we originally thought. According to a new study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a low-salt diet may result in a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers followed more than 3,500 healthy people, under the age of 60, for about eight years. However, the study also found that those who ate more salt did not necessarily raise their risk of a heart attack or stroke. The researchers aren’t quite sure why a low-salt diet could raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke. But they think that the low amount of sodium may decrease blood pressure, which can also decrease the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This can result in a stress-response from the nervous system and it can also affect certain hormones that regulate blood pressure. All of this can cause cardiac problems.  

5/6/2011 SaltI know that’s a lot of new information, especially considering that for a long time, health officials have been telling us to cut salt from our diet. So, what guidelines should we follow?

An article from Health.com says that the amount of salt that a person should intake depends on the individual. In fact, the article states that most of the study’s participants were younger, white, and thinner than the average American. While in the past, research has concluded that people who often have bad experiences with a high-sodium diet tend to be black, older and weigh more. This data most likely affected the results of this research.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that individuals aging from nine to 50 should intake about 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. I would recommend sticking around that number, but, of course, it is always advisable to speak with your doctor about this issue.

How much salt is in your diet?

Photo by Chris Blakeley/Courtesy Flickr



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