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Nutritional Wisdom

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20th, 2013

Salt: more than high blood pressure

Sodium is an important mineral that is essential for proper functioning of the human body, however, the American diet contains dangerously high amounts of sodium, almost 80 percent of which comes from processed and restaurant foods. For most of human history, our food did not contain any added salt only the sodium present in natural foods, adding up to about 750 mg sodium per day. The dietary intake of sodium in the U.S. today is about 3500 mg/day much more than the human body needs.

Excess dietary salt is most notorious for increasing blood pressure. Americans have a 90 percent lifetime probability of developing high blood pressure, so even if your blood pressure is normal now, if you continue to eat the typical American diet, you will certainly be at risk. Elevated blood pressure accounts for 62 percent of strokes and 49 percent of coronary heart disease. Even if you eat an otherwise healthy diet and your arteries are free of plaque, hypertension late in life damages the delicate blood vessels of the brain, increasing the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. The American Heart Association, recognizing the significant risks of high blood pressure, have dropped their recommended maximum sodium intake from 2300 mg to 1500 mg.

For the complete article see the 03-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-20-2013 paper.

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