The largest study of its kind indicates that a sodium-free diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes by nearly a fifth.
The addition of sodium to food has been demonstrated to increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality. Now that experts have determined how much of a difference you can make in your heart health by merely reducing the amount of sodium you add to your meals or eliminating it entirely, it is clear that you can significantly improve your health.
Those who never add salt to their meals are 18% less likely to develop the cardiac condition atrial fibrillation (AF) compared to those who always do. 1.5 million Britons have been diagnosed with the condition, a 50 percent increase over the past decade.
AF results in an irregular and frequently abnormally rapid heart rate, which can cause vertigo, shortness of breath, and fatigue. People with atrial fibrillation have a fivefold increased risk of stroke.
Dr. Yoon Jung Park of the Kyungpook national university hospital in South Korea, the study’s lead author, stated, “Our study indicates that lower frequency of adding salt to foods was associated with lower risk of AF.”
This weekend, the findings will be presented in Amsterdam at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, the largest cardiac conference in the world.
Study Draws Insights from Extensive UK Biobank Data, Excluding Pre-existing Conditions
The research utilized data from the UK Biobank, which includes over 500,000 persons aged 40 to 70 in the United Kingdom from 2006 to 2010. Those who already had AF, coronary artery disease, heart failure, or a previous stroke were precluded from the study.
Each participant was asked whether they salted their dishes “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” “usually,” or “always.” Then, researchers followed them for eleven years to determine how this affected them. Those who never added salt to their meals were 18% less likely to develop AF than those who did so routinely. Those who occasionally consumed it were 15% less likely to be obese.
Even those who reduce the amount of sodium they contribute to their diet from “always” to “usually” may experience a substantial reduction in their risk. Those in the usual group had a 13% lower risk of developing AF compared to those who “always” do so.
Prof. James Leiper of the British Heart Foundation stated, “It is well known that consuming an excessive amount of sodium can cause health issues. This research is a beneficial reminder that we could all benefit from adhering to the government’s recommendation of consuming no more than 6 grams of salt per day, or roughly one teaspoon.
Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar, and Health’s Mhairi Brown stated, “This new research is a valuable addition to the evidence base and reinforces the need for strict policies that would help lower the amount of salt in our food and protect our health from avoidable deaths.”
Source: The Guardian