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Lower Salt Intake Spells a Healthy Diet, or Not!

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A low-sodium diet has long been recommended by dieticians and health experts around the world. Less salt is supposedly ideal, especially for people who suffer from hypertension, as it causes high blood pressure. Then again, there is an eight-year study that was recently concluded to refute that. According to the study conducted by scientists in Belgium, high salt intake is good for the body all around. It can even help lower your risks of heart disease.

More Deaths Recorded with Low Sodium Diet

Over the course of the study among white Europeans, people with low salt intake showed the highest death rate from heart disease. Dr. Jan Staessen from the University of Leuven in Belgium said the new finding certainly refutes the low salt intake recommendation. According to the U.S. guidelines, the recommended daily amount of salt intake for the general public is 2,300 milligrams a day. If you have hypertension, you are diminished to taking only 1,500 milligrams of salt daily.

Dr. Staessen believes the U.S. recommendations are not conclusive as they are only based from short-term studies of some volunteers who either followed a high sodium or low sodium diet as per the researchers’ advice.

Low Sodium Diet = Healthier Self?

Previous studies have claimed that lower salt intake helps keep high blood pressure at bay but it has left the question hanging whether or not low sodium diets are indeed healthier as we have always believed.

Lower Salt In Dr. Staessen’s study, which was published recently at JAMA or the Journal of the American Medical Association, he and his team utilized 3,700 Europeans with an average age of 40. Their sodium levels were monitored through urine samples that were taken at the beginning and end of the study. Before the study was started, no case of heart disease has been found among the participants while two-thirds of them are found to have normal blood pressure. The participants were divided into three groups: one with the lowest salt intake, another with an average salt intake, and the last with the highest salt intake. Over the course of eight years, the subjects were followed and were monitored for high blood pressure and heart disease.

In the end, the researchers found that those subjected to a low sodium diet at 2,500 milligrams a day did not show any reduction of risk for hypertension more than those who had high levels of sodium intake at 6,000 milligrams a day. On the contrary, it has been found that the risk for heart disease was lower among those on a high sodium diet.

In addition, 50 heart disease deaths occurred among those who are on low sodium diets, 24 among those on average sodium diets, and only 10 among those on high sodium diets. Although the systolic rate of blood pressure among participants with high sodium diets is slightly higher, it is still not enough to classify the readings within the high blood pressure range. There is also no difference in hypertension and high blood pressure risks noted among the three groups. At the end of the study, about one out of four among the participants or about 25% was found with high blood pressure.

Dr. Staessen and his team therefore concluded that although a low sodium diet is duly advisable among people with high blood pressure and heart disease, higher salt intake cannot be blamed as the main trigger for the onset of those conditions. While there are possible benefits from adding a higher amount of sodium in your diet, they might come with some risks as well so everyone must be cautious.

Let us remember that sodium is an integral part of the body’s processes. Without it, our bodies will die. If there are dangers for taking too much sodium on a daily basis, taking in too little can be as risky. So remember to keep yourself healthy by taking in everything in moderation. You may also resort to a healthier diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains aside from a low sodium intake to keep yourself protected against hypertension even without medication. Then, do a daily exercise routine and you will surely remain on the healthy path forever.
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