Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world. However, it is not inevitable. Indeed, although there is little you can do about risk factors such as sex, age, and family history, there are a lot of deliberate steps you can take to minimize your risk of heart disease.
If you have been reading about cardiovascular health, you have probably heard that you need to manage your weight, avoid smoking, eat healthy food, get enough sleep, manage stress, exercise regularly, and go for regular medical checkups to keep your heart healthy. But recent research has provided one more tip: reducing salt intake.
Reduced Sodium Intake Can Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reducing the frequency at which we add salt to food can significantly lower the risk of heart disease, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease.
For many years, it was argued that high levels of sodium in the diet increased the risk of hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. However, due to the lack of reliable methods of assessing the long-term implications of dietary sodium intake, research has produced conflicting results. However, recent studies have suggested that the frequency with which people add salt to their food can be a strong predictor of their sodium intake over time.
The study involved 176,570 participants drawn from the UK Biobank. Researchers collected data about how often they added salt to their food, excluding the salt used in cooking. The goal was to establish a link between the frequency of adding salt to food and the incidents of cardiovascular disease. It also assessed the long terms implications of adopting both low sodium intake and DASH-based diets.
The study found that people who add salt to food less frequently had a lower risk of heart disease. It was also established that people on the DASH diet had a much lower risk of heart disease if they added salt to their food less frequently.
What is DASH Diet and How Does It Relate to Heart Disease?
DASH is an acronym that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is mainly promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as an effective way of helping people prevent and manage hypertension. It is rich in whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, vegetables, and fruits. It is limited in red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened drinks and food. Researchers have found that DASH can significantly reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which effectively reduces the risk of heart disease.
The Bottom Line
Overall, it is apparent that sodium intake can have long-term implications on your cardiovascular health. Therefore, if you would like to reduce your risk of heart disease, it is imperative to start avoiding adding salt to your food. You can enhance your cardiovascular health further by adopting the DASH diet. Combining the two approaches and other recommended tips for preventing cardiovascular health issues will go a long way in helping you minimize the risk of heart disease, other risk factors notwithstanding.
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