To investigate, researchers followed 123 people with stable heart failure, the final stage of cardiovascular disease marked by shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling.
Researchers found people who ate an average of 3.8 grams of sodium per day, equivalent to nearly 2 teaspoons of salt, were twice as likely to be hospitalized for heart failure within a 3-year window as people who ate fewer salty foods.
In contrast, only 12 to 15 percent of the people with lower-salt diets - between 1.4 and 2.4 grams per day on average ended up in the hospital during the same time span.
Researchers found people who ate the highest amounts of salt were also three times more likely to die during the study period.
Researchers conclude that high salt intake is particularly dangerous for heart failure patients, even for those who are doing well and are stable on their medications. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadians adults consume, on average, about 3,500 mg (roughly 1 ½ tsp) of sodium per day, significantly more than the level recommended as adequate (1200 to 1500 mg per day - about ½ tsp) or even the level recommended as the upper tolerable limit for health, which is 2300 mg per day (approximately 1 tsp).
Want to learn more about how to prevent heart disease through diet and nutrition? Check out Leslie Beck's book Heart Healthy Foods for Life, a comprehensive guide that includes information on which foods and nutrients to eat less often, tips for grocery shopping and dining out, as well as over 100 easy to prepare heart healthy recipes. Click here for a sample recipe from the book.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.