There's no getting around it. For most people, salt makes everything taste so much better. But while many people can monitor and control their salt intake carefully, others find themselves reaching for the salt shaker multiple times in one meal. It's long been known that an excess amount of salt can damage your health, but what can we do instead? For the salt addicts out there, the idea of eating food without it can be a daunting thought. Thanks to a new study, there's hope as they suggest that switching to salt substitutes can help lower the risks associated with high salt consumption and still satisfy the craving we so desperately need.
The study, published in the Heart Journal and conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, found that when people switch to salt substitutes, they will significantly reduce their chances of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, and death. These substitutes achieve this by switching out a % of the sodium for potassium. Analyzing the data from 21 clinical trials and a total of 31,949 patients, researchers found that the substitutes lowered systolic blood pressure by 4.61mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.61 mm Hg.
"The main message from this study is that reducing blood pressure is critically important for preventing cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, extending life, and improving quality of life," explained Dr. Darwin Labarthe, a co-author of the study. "High blood pressure can be reduced by both increasing potassium intake and reducing sodium intake."
Excess salt intake is a massive issue in the U.S. particularly. Registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty references the CDC statistic that about 90% of Americans exceed the guideline target of 2,300 mg daily. Even if you think you're being careful with your salt intake, there are many hidden sources of salt that you may be consuming without your knowledge. A slice of bread, for example, may not taste salty, but it contains about 150 mg of sodium. Most of the salt we eat comes from packaged and restaurant food, so carefully reading labels can help you make informed decisions. Stay tuned for more health hacks.