(NaturalNews) Contrary to what we’ve all been told by scientists and doctors alike, it is now thought that eating too little salt might actually increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to the Daily Mail. Controversial new research debunks the long-held narrative that a low-salt diet decreases the risk of heart attack, as scientists take a dramatic u-turn on salt, claiming that too little salt has the same effect as too much salt.
Scientific evidence from a global study published in the reputable journal Lancet, has found that low-salts are not beneficial to your health – in fact, they can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and death when compared with average salt consumption.
The latest study
As reported by the Daily Mail, there has been a strong reaction to the study by the scientific community, with one expert declaring his “disbelief.” The research was carried out by investigators at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, analyzing over 130,000 people in 49 different countries.
The study focused on whether the relationship between salt intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure. The findings were surprising, showing that regardless of whether blood pressure is high or normal, low-salt intake is linked to a greater incidence of heart attacks, stroke and death compared with average salt intake.
Dr. Andrew Mente, lead author and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, stated: “While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension (high blood pressure), it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels. Our findings are important because they show that lowering sodium [salt] is best targeted at those with hypertension who also consume high sodium diets.”
The new study shows that the risks linked with low-salt intake – classified as less than 3 grams per day – are consistent regardless of blood pressure. There is a limit below which a reduction in salt intake may be unsafe, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 miligrams of salt per day, however, the Daily Mail reports that the average American consumes 3,400 miligrams. While the latest study shows that low-salt diets may also pose a risk to health, the average salt intake of Americans still needs to be reduced.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the University of Warwick, and head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nutrition, blasted the results, saying: “The evidence supporting global actions for a moderate reduction in salt consumption to prevent cardiovascular disease is strong and such studies should not overturn the concerted public health action to reduce salt intake globally.”
Natural ways to improve heart health
Aside from monitoring your salt intake, there are several other ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to recent studies, eating organic foods may improve your heart health, because organic food is higher in salicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Meanwhile, according to Doctors Health Press, your heart health comes down to your lifestyle and five main behaviors:
- Not smoking
- Limited alcohol intake
- Weight control
- Physical activity
- Healthy diet
Superfoods such as blueberries are important foods to incorporate into your diet, because of their antioxidant qualities that reduce inflammation and improve the health of your heart.
So, while salt intake plays an important role, there are other lifestyle choices you need to consider when trying to look after your heart health.