Using Too Much Salt in Food Can Cause Heart Problems

While it may seem innocuous to sprinkle a pinch of salt over your food, the reality is far more concerning. Adding even a small amount of extra salt to your dish can lead to an excessive intake of sodium in your diet.

A review published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted that consuming too much salt is responsible for over 1.6 million cardiovascular-related deaths annually. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 2,000mg of sodium, surpassing which can have detrimental effects on your heart health.

Dr. Dariush Mazoffarian, formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health and currently the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, conducted research that underscores this issue. In a press statement, he emphasized, “High sodium intake is known to increase blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.”

Average Salt Intake

The research delved into data from 205 surveys covering countries representing nearly three-quarters of the global adult population to gauge sodium intake. Utilizing this dataset along with supplementary information, researchers computed sodium consumption by country, gender, and age demographics.

Results revealed that, on average, individuals consumed 3.95g of sodium per day, nearly double the WHO’s recommended limit of 2g. Strikingly, individuals from all regions surpassed the suggested threshold, indicating a widespread trend of excessive sodium intake globally.

How to cut salt intake

Sharon Palmer, RDN, a registered dietitian and author from Los Angeles, emphasizes the importance of individuals being mindful of their sodium intake.

She notes, “For some reason, sodium has never resonated with the public in the way that other nutrition issues have, such as sugar, carbs, fat, and even the new fad of avoiding gluten with no medical necessity.”

Palmer advocates for the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet as an effective means to lower blood pressure to normal levels. This diet focuses on wholesome foods such as low-fat dairy, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. By adhering to this dietary approach, individuals can better manage their sodium intake and support overall heart health.