Eating Less Salt Can Save Money and Reduce the Risk of Heart Diseases
Table salt or Sodium Chloride, as it is technically called, is known to be heart disease risk factor for years. But there are no concrete information available to substantiate this claim scientifically. It has however, remained as a general belief in our society that excess intake of salt is not good for health. Government health agencies like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program have been trying to spread awareness among the people about the complications and risks associated with taking more salt in our diets. However, such claims are rejected point-blank by processed salt manufacturers and the Salt Institute.
Why is There No Common Consensus: Research which tries to understand the relationship between salt and high blood pressure(or Hypertension) is a complex subject. According to an estimation there are 20,000 research articles on this topic but with contradictory results. It is a tough task for the health personnels to arrive at a single conclusion as the chances of being biased in their study will be high. That is why, after years of research on this subject, no clear consensus has been arrived at in the scientific world, on this topic.
Recently (Dated 21st January, 2010), researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University Medical Centre and Columbia University Medical Centre have found from their research study that reducing the intake of salt by 3 grams can bring down new cases of heart attacks every year by 100,000 and deaths by 92,000. An estimated $24 billion dollars of health costs of the government can be saved by this small initiative alone. According to Dr. Aviv from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, a possible explanation is that salt may increase the reactivity of response of platelets in the blood. It is this component in the blood which causes the blood to clot. Clotting of blood in small granules in the pathways of the heart (called arteries and veins) leads to heart attack.
According to the recommendations of many health organizations, intake of 5.8 grams for people below 40 years and less than 3.8 grams for above 40 years is acceptable. But the federal government data, shows that an average American consumes 10 grams of salt per day. This is the reason why, the American Heart Association reports 50 percent rise in salt intake from 1970 with equal percentage of rise in hypertension cases.