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A Sneaky Culprit of Disease and Stroke

A Sneaky Culprit of Disease and Stroke

The British Medical Journal recently published an analysis on the effects of too much salt in our diets.

According to their research, which looked at 13 studies from 1966 to 2008:

High salt intake is associated with significantly increased risk of stroke and total cardiovascular disease. Because of imprecision in measurement of salt intake, these effect sizes are likely to be underestimated. These results support the role of a substantial population reduction in salt intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Yikes!

Over at Food Politics, Marion Nestle points to the study’s commentary which calls for more regulation in the food industry. Since “nearly 80 percent of salt enters the diet through processed and pre-prepared foods,” they argue that regulation is the best way to keep salt from sneaking into our diets so much (you can sign this petition to support sodium-reduction policies).

Is regulation the answer? Sure, it would be great to see restaurants and food companies step up and consider the health impacts of the food they’re producing. Iím just not sure it’s something that legislation alone can address.

One of the big problems, as Nestle points out, is that:

Öthe taste for salt depends on how much is eaten. On a low salt diet, even lightly salted foods taste salty. But if you are used to eating a lot of salt, it takes even more to taste salty. So the object needs to be to reduce salt in the diet across the board.

If we’re going to reduce salt intake across the board, consumers need to have a clear idea of salt’s health impacts. Education is key.

Not only do folks need to know the risks, they need solutions. If processed- and restaurant foods are the major culprits, it sounds like home cooked meals might be the answer.

Preparing home-cooked meals makes it so much easier to monitor how much salt is going into your food. Why wait for regulation when you can take charge of your diet in your very own kitchen? Here are three low-sodium recipes to get you started in reducing your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease:

White Bean Soup with Greens and Rosemary

Autumn Vegetable Stew with Kale
Ginger Couscous Primavera

Do you guys have any favorite low-salt recipes? Share away in the comments!

Help Limit America’s Sodium Intake! Tell the FDA and FSIS to support policies that help reduce our collective consumption of salt.

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, , , , ,

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129 comments

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2:09AM PDT on May 14, 2014

Thank you :)

11:29PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

Thanks for the reminder!

3:41AM PDT on Jul 13, 2013

I should have qualified my last post regarding salt: just be aware that there are foods that provide iodine, have your iodine levels checked. In the 'old days' people relied on iodized salt to provide iodine. Just be aware. Thanks and sorry for the double-post

3:36AM PDT on Jul 13, 2013

Kathy P: Organic Kelp Granules are a great salt substitute as well as an excellent source of Iodine. So many of us are iodine-deficient and we've been told to eliminate salt which is a source of iodine. Preferred use of salt for me is Himalyan Rock Salt: there are table grades as well.

2:18AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

Thanks

4:39AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Very informative article.

2:11PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

Thanks

12:49PM PDT on May 18, 2012

It's a huge problem, as it's sneaked into so many foods. Processed foods that is. I live in Turkey and I have never seen a nation who eat so much salt and sugar. They even have sugar festivals for children.(seker bayram) you have to educate your friends in order that your child doesn't get massive doses of both. I ate a chocolate brownie last night and the first thing I realised was that it was chocolaty and very salty.the first time I bought pickled beetroots here I could not believe the amount of salt in the mixture, it literally burned my mouth. In the western world, it is also a problem and mostly added to breakfast cereals and any processed food and as a result peoples taste has changed. In fact it kills your taste buds. If you do a detox diet or fast for long periods, you find that you get our taste back and need so little salt before it burns your mouth. It's a huge problem and should definitely be controlled strongly, and especially in childrens foods.

7:15PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

i always try to watch my sodium intake and limit processed foods. btw, why is the petition now closed?

6:15PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

We're oversalted.

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