Is salt good for health. Yes, salt is good for health. The American Heart Association salt advisory says “Sodium is a mineral that’s essential for life. It’s regulated in the body by your kidneys, and it helps control your body’s fluid balance. It also helps send nerve impulses and affects muscle function. …. • The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of less than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those with high blood pressure. • Even cutting back by 1,000 mg a day can improve blood pressure and heart health. ….”
Contrary to popular belief that salt is bad for health, recent research suggests that people on low salt diets are more at risk of suffering heart problems. We have several research results which have been published respected publications. Please find below excerpts from some of them.
“It’s Time to End the War on Salt”
The respected Scientific American website had a report dated July 8, 2011: “….The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine—an excellent measure of prior consumption—the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you…..” Read More
“Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, study suggests”
This is from Science Daily report of May 21, 2016 which says: “A large worldwide study has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt consumption. The study suggests that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and have high salt consumption….” Read More
“Has Salt Gotten An Unfair Shake?”
The National Public Radio, the American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization says this in an article dated September 3, 2017 “…For such a simple compound, salt is complicated. Sodium is a key element in table salt, and it’s also essential for life. It helps regulate our blood volume. It shuttles nutrients into our bodies and brains. It allows our muscles to contract and our nerves to pulse with electricity. Yet for decades, we’ve been told to avoid it…… High blood pressure does indeed up the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in most people. But in many areas of medicine, accepted beliefs often get rewritten as new evidence emerges. Cholesterol is bad for us. No it’s not. Saturated fat is surely killing us all. Actually, a little might be okay. Some health researchers believe it’s salt’s turn for a reappraisal and point to studies suggesting that more salt doesn’t necessarily mean more heart disease. Participants in a recent study with the highest intake of sodium and potassium actually had significantly lower blood pressure, according to an analysis presented earlier this year at the American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago. The group with the lowest blood pressure averaged a daily sodium intake of 3.7 grams a day, far higher than the guidelines suggest.
The findings echo those of a 2016 study published in The Lancet: The largest of its kind, the review looked at sodium intake and blood pressure data in over 130,000 individuals from 49 countries with varying degrees of salt consumption. Low sodium intake was defined as up to 3 grams a day, just shy of the 3.4 grams a day that Americans average. Four and 5 grams a day was considered “moderate” intake, and 7 or more grams a day as “high” consumption. The authors found that populations with very low sodium intake seemed to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those with moderate intake. So did people on high-salt diets, but only those with high blood pressure in the first place. According to the data, moderate to high salt consumption in people with normal blood pressure did not appear to have the dire consequences that might have been presumed. “In people with normal blood pressure, there doesn’t seem to be much of an association between salt intake increases in blood pressure,” says lead study author Andrew Mente, a nutritional epidemiologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “Regardless of your blood pressure — and regardless of whether you have high blood pressure or normal blood pressure — if you bring sodium down to low levels, you get an increased risk in cardiovascular problems,” he explains, “Going from high to moderate reduces risk based on our data, but not any further than that. ….” Read More
Conclusion: Low salt diet is not good for you, unless you have high BP
From all the above reports it is clear that salt is good for heart health. Going on a low salt diet may actually endanger your life. Low salt diet is recommended only if you have very high blood pressure. Most doctors have been trained from the beginning to say that salt is not good for you. Things have changed. Like cholesterol from food intake, which was considered very bad for health before, is now considered not harmful – see our page on cholesterol. Now it is the turn of salt to be considered good instead of bad. Sooner than later, we can expect a new health advisory saying that salt is good for health.