Reducing salt intake can improve health

Salt intake has been correlated with higher blood pressure, and consuming slightly less salt can have significant health impacts

Doctors have long known about the deleterious effects that excessive salt consumption can have on a person's heart health, and new research hints at the difference that a minor salt cutback can have.

According to researchers at the University of California-San Francisco, if Americans cut back on their salt intake by just half a teaspoon, as many as 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths could be prevented each year.

"Reducing dietary salt is one of those rare interventions that has a huge health benefit and actually saves large amounts of money," senior study author Lee Goldman noted.

Maintaining public health ensures that health expenditures - and health insurance premiums - are lower.

And the half-teaspoon salt reduction is so slight, researcher Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo said, that most people are unlikely to notice.

Many food manufacturers are attempting to reduce their products' salt content gradually, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. The amount of sodium in V8 vegetable juice, made by the Campbell Soup Co., has been quietly cut by 32 percent in the past eight years, the newspaper said.

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Posted: January 21, 2010

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