Why reducing salt intake is good for your heart

Last May, the rule that limits the maximum salt content in bread came into force, one more measure to try to reduce salt consumption. And it is that the majority of the population doubles the recommended intake of salt , and that high consumption can affect cardiovascular health.

The main risk is that a high intake, coupled with insufficient absorption of potassium (less than 3.5 grams per day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. As Dr. Teresa Partearroyo, Professor of Nutrition and Bromatology at the CEU-San Pablo University and member of the Nutrition Committee of the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC), explains in the program A su salud , salt has a linear relationship with our blood pressure , with the consequences that this entails for the functioning of the heart and for the walls of the blood vessels.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is recommended to reduce sodium intake to less than two grams per day, which would be approximately equivalent to about five grams of salt in adults , in order to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the WHO also recommends a greater reduction in sodium intake because it can predispose to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis, asthma and other respiratory pathologies, obesity and stomach cancer,” says Partearroyo.

Sal visible e invisible

That amount of five grams of salt maximum per day in adults includes visible salt, the one we add to food, but also invisible salt. The latter is the one we consume the most without being aware of it. “The problem derives from all that invisible salt that is found in food , the invisible salt that is added in the transformation of all the products that are processed. It could be constituting between 70 and 75% of the salt that we consume on a daily basis”, says Teresa Partearroyo.

To reduce and control the amount of sodium in our body, experts recommend replacing part of the salt with herbs, spices and other condiments. But it is also important to read the labels of the foods we buy in the supermarket and choose those with less salt. As a reference, you can guide us knowing that 1.25 grams of salt for every 100 grams of product is a very high salt content.

This essential training of consumers is one of the objectives of the Food and Health Program of the Spanish Heart Foundation (PASFEC). “What we do at PASFEC is to promote the necessary training about elements that are more harmful to our health, such as salt but also added sugar, saturated fats and trans fats, so that we do not exceed the maximum recommended amounts. Therefore, the information on the content of these marketed products must be well regulated and allow a simple comparison with products that are similar in the market so that the consumer can choose freely and informed which is the best option to avoid ingesting large quantities. of this type of nutrient”, explains Teresa Partearroyo.


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