Reduce Your Salt Intake Slightly and Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions about your health this year to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke? If you are like many people, you decided that today you were going to take charge and make sweeping changes. Sugar, fat and salt are the enemy, and would no longer pass your lips. You would be going to the gym, if not every day, at least several times a week.

Um, hmm…..How long did you last? Probably not too long. We really don’t like change, and it takes time for changes, even positive ones, to become a long-term habit. Rather than try to make several changes at once, a better idea is to start by making some adjustments to your lifestyle.

One thing you can do that will lower your risk of heart attack and stroke is to cut back on your salt intake. Even making a small change can pay off in improved health. According to the results of a study published in the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine, reducing salt intake by about a half teaspoon per day can help to prevent heart attacks. As many as 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 untimely deaths can be prevented annually by simply not automatically reaching for the salt shaker on the table and reducing the amount of processed foods we eat.

Would you make a point of not adding salt to your food if it meant you could lower your risk of heart attack and stroke? Would you read labels on packaged foods to choose ones that have a lower sodium content? These are simple steps that you can start right now to improve your health. Once they become ingrained habits instead of something you have to think about, then you can add another small change, like making a point of eating an additional serving of fruits and vegetables every day, to continue on your journey to better health.

Americans Not Getting the Message About Salt

Lowering your salt intake is an important part of lowering your risk of heart disease, but many people just aren’t getting the message. They are still adding salt to their food at the table, even though most packaged food is already heavily-laden with it.

Hide the salt shaker at your house. Don’t put it on the table at meal time, and don’t keep one visible in the kitchen when you are cooking. All you need for the entire day is a teaspoon. That’s it. There are about 300 million prescriptions being filled for high blood pressure medication every year in the U.S. Lowering your salt intake may help you avoid being someone who needs to get one.

Cut Salt Consumption to Lower Heart Disease Risk

North Americans consume far too much salt in their diet, and cutting back just a little will help reduce your risk of heart disease. A good place to start is by taking the salt shaker off your table. If you eat a lot of processed food, you are probably getting enough salt from them without adding any extra before you start to eat.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of reading labels on products at the grocery store. The average person consumes between 9 and 12 grams of salt per day when between 5 and 6 grams is the recommended level. Try cutting back a little and your risk of heart disease will decrease.