The Benefits of Cutting Down on Salt

Salt-reduction policy might help reduce heart disease deaths

(RxWiki News) A policy that would reduce salt intake by 10 percent over 10 years could save millions of lives around the world, according to a new study.

That's because high sodium (salt) intake has been tied to high blood pressure and other heart-related health problems that can be fatal, according to the researchers behind this study.

Many people around the world consume too much salt. It's a problem that leads to an estimated 1.64 million deaths each year, according to a press release about this study. But a government led policy of public education on the effects of high salt intake and industry agreements that could reduce salt intake might help lower that number, this study found.

These researchers also found that such a policy would be cost-effective for most countries, given the health care costs associated with heart disease and related issues.

These findings were the result of a modeling study of 183 countries conducted by Stanford, Harvard and Tufts University researchers.

Although you can't personally implement salt-reducing government policies, you can reduce the amount of salt you consume. 

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum 2000 mg of sodium a day. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your own sodium intake.

Many packaged and processed foods, such as frozen pizza, contain high amounts of sodium. The same is true for meals at many restaurants. Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally low-sodium choices.

This study was published in The BMJ.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Institutes of Health funded this research. Study authors reported relationships unrelated to dietary sodium with entities like AstraZeneca, the Haas Avocado Board and Boston Heart Diagnostics.