Stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are linked closely to high blood pressure. In many studies, hypertension is a strong predictor of these severe problems, including stroke (brain attack), congestive heart failure, and even myocardial infarction (heart attack).
The importance of salt intake (sodium chloride) with regard to high blood pressure is well linked. Most of these studies have been a type of case control showing high probable causal relationship. Some other studies have shown that higher salt intake predicted the higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases over time.
But a recent published and peer reviewed study, with randomized NON-hypertensive persons, about 3000 of them, has put a strong lock on this issue. In the study, persons were given about 2.6 gms or 2.0 gms of salt daily. Another group of placebo was a control also. The groups were followed out to 18 months or 36-48 months. Then all the groups (cohorts) were followed over the next 10-15 years!
There was a remarkable 30% (approximate) lower incidence of cardiovascular events during this period. This finding was controlled for age, body mass, sex, ethnic origin, and initial blood pressure – when compared to the placebo group.
We have long known this concern of salt and high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. Even back in about 1985, the World Health Organization recommended the salt intake to be reduced to about 5 grams per day.
In "Westernized" countries, bread and processed foods account for the great majority of salts in the diet, with personal use being about 15-20 %. In many developing countries however, the personal use is the burden of salt. Some countries have tried to "legislate" salt reduction, however most of the time, this effort turns to "voluntary" agreement programs with good intent, rather than hard legislation. More efforts of education and the reason for limiting salt intake should be forwarded by all the main agencies such as the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and others that take the lead to limit cardiovascular disease, morbidity, and mortality.
So think about it. Should we legislate the prepared foods, soda and beer, snack, eat 'n run, cafe, restaurant, and bar industries to limit the salt in their products? Dear ol' Mom probably had it right when she said, "Not so much salt!"
So next time you pick up the product, do a salt survey. Remember less that five grams a day is highly recommended, while 2 grams a day really makes a difference in your actual risk. The debate appears to be over. Salt can take a toll. Be a wise shopper and a wiser eater.
Salty popcorn with butter anyone? Remember, more fiber, less salt, less trans-fats….Yuk!