Reduce salt intake to cut blood pressure

October 5, 2005 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Reduce salt intake to cut blood pressure

According to a new report by Britain's Medical Research Council, in order to reduce blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, people should reduce their consumption of salt.  The report, which summarizes the scientific evidence on the links between salt and health, said cutting salt consumption from the average 9.5 to 6 grams a day could result in a 13 percent reduction in stroke and a 10 percent decrease in heart disease.

Salt is composed of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. People need sodium because it regulates water in the body and acts as a message coordinating system by carrying electrical charges. However, only about 1 gram a day would be sufficient to carry out those functions.

Too much salt raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease - one of the world's leading killers. Salt increases blood pressure because the sodium makes the body retain more water and the extra water in the blood vessels creates more pressure.

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