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Eat Less Salt: A Doctor Explains Why

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Eat Less Salt: A Doctor Explains Why

 

“Where would we be without salt?,” asked celebrated food writer James Beard. A cardiologist’s answer to that is likely to be a wry ,”in a healthier place.”

Is salt actually good for you, but just a victim of bad press? Can too much salt give you a heart attack? Is it possible to keep your taste buds happy on a low-salt diet?

I asked esteemed New Delhi-based cardiologist Dr. K.K.Aggarwal to sort out the healthy, the harmful, and the hype. Let me reproduce my interview with him for you:

Is salt bad for my heart?

Short answer: yes.

Why?

Salt increases blood pressure.

How?

Salt contains sodium, which causes the body to retain water. When the level of body fluids goes up, blood pressure increases.  Increased blood pressure puts a strain on the heart.

Scary. Anything else?

Plenty. That innocent-looking white powder can cause kidney troubles, too.

More with Dr. K.K.Aggarwal on the next page!

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, High Blood Pressure, , , , , , ,

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

23 comments

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7:57PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Eat the Right Amount of Salt?
Not eating enough salt is also detrimental to your health.
You need more salt when you sweat a lot.
So what is the right amount of salt to eat? Less than 6 g per day (http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/healthy_salt.shtml) …. But more than 2 grams per day.
That is a lot of salt!
Adding salt to your food just before you eat it is the easiest way to get the salty taste with out over loading your food with salt.
Too much salt increases blood pressure, however a recent study concluded that there was ‘no strong evidence’ that lowering levels in the diet reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2011630/Cutting-salt-dosnt-make-healthier.html.
Are all salts the same? Well I prefer sea salt because it only contains 86% salt, and also contains important minerals like 2.7% Magnesium, 1.1% potassium and 1.2% calcium.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_salt)

5:14PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Gosh, I put salt on everything .. I am shameless.. but I will try, I really need to:(

2:06PM PST on Dec 28, 2011

People do need sodium, but I can agree that it's in moderation. Have there been any studies that prove it's bad for your heart? I cannot say, but most of my doctors do say that it is. I didn't know that it affects your kidneys, that was a new one for me. I prefer to use Sea Salt when I'm flavoring food. I just like the way it tastes, and I'm pretty sure it has minerals in it that benefit your body. I don't put salt on everything though. Actually, I usually only add it when I cook. Just to pour salt on my plate on food that I think isn't salty enough, I don't do often. With the exeption of mashed potatoes. I don't like eating those if there isn't the right amount of salt that I like. Anyways, thanks for the article.

8:23AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

hmmmm, not sure i agree with this

8:03AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Good to know, thanks.

6:49AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

thanks for sharing

6:32AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Thanks for the article. I need to get my husband to eat less salt!

12:28AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

In order to understand what this post, we all need to know about the recommended daily intake (RDI) of nutrients. This is much better than saying stay away from things like salt, sugar and fats.
The RDI of sodium is some 0.9 to 2.3g per day (http://healthyeatingclub.com/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data5a.html ).
To convert this into grams of sodium chloride, one must multiply the weight by 2.5, so the RDI of soduium chloride is 2.3 to 5.9g per day. That is a lot of salt!
It only takes less than 0.2g of salt to prepare my salad, so I have at least 2 -5g more grams of salt I can eat in a day.
Salt and many other osmogents, like sugars and alcohol increases the amount of water in the body which increases, blood volume which in turn increases blood pressure. We have been told that high blood pressure is bad, so too much salt must be bad???
A recent study concluded that there was ‘no strong evidence’ that lowering levels in the diet reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2011630/Cutting-salt-dosnt-make-healthier.html.
Are all salts the same? Well I prefer sea salt because it contains minerals that we need in our diet.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_salt
It is difficult to know how much salt one is eating if one eats processed foods or eats out.
So if one eats processed foods or eats out, it will be diffcult to know whether you are getting more or less the RDI of salt.

8:38PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Have you ever tried shopping for food that does not have sodium in it? It is in just about everything. It would be very easy to overshoot the 100% RDA if one does not pay attention.

8:02PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

This is misleading. Our bodies need sodium.

Posts like this, that don't share adequate information, just make people think they are being healthy by avoiding salt altogether. I've known more than one person who ended up with thyroid problems due to lack of iodine including a ten year old whose growth was stunted and had to have his thyroid removed ... and will be on medication for the rest of his life, all because his mother was following advice like this.

Skip the processed foods which is where most people get about 90% of their sodium. But go ahead and use some table salt and go for the unbleached sea salts in all varieties and colors.

And no matter what kind of salt it is, if it has been bleached, then the minerals have been washed away.

There have been much better articles on the care2 site about this in the past, the recent past no less.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good advice. Animals shouldn't be in costume. Just keep them safe. My personal opinion.

These look delicious! Thanks for sharing.

They all look great, will be trying, thank you!

Thanks for the reminders.

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