Less salt prevents heart disease

Those who start saving salt at a young age prevent heart disease.

If children and adolescents start to stingy about salt consumption early on, the risk of later cardiovascular diseases can be reduced. But young people of all people often use heavily salted ready meals and fast food products (salt in ready meals). In the United States alone, adolescents consume up to nine grams of salt daily. If they saved at least three grams of salt from it, the later risk of heart disease could be reduced, the US Heart Association said.

Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco used a PC model to calculate the health benefits of having young people save an average of three grams of salt a day. The research team led by Kirstin Bibbins-Domingo came to the conclusion that this reduces the risk factor of hypertension between 44 and 63 percent. In relation to the USA, this would be a purely arithmetical 380,000 to over half a million (550,000) fewer hypertension patients. "Young people could live free of high blood pressure much longer if more food manufacturers tried to use salt more sparingly," explained Dr. Bibbins-Domingo.

Saving salt even in old age However, this does not mean that older people cannot advantageously limit salt consumption for their health. After all, in the age groups 35 to 50, the risk of heart disease is still reduced by 30 to 43 percent. In mathematical terms, this would be 2.7 to 3.9 million fewer high-pressure patients. However, the positive factor of reduced salt consumption decreases with increasing age. This is because there are additional risk factors in old age that did not exist at a young age. Nevertheless, 8 to 14 percent fewer heart attacks and 5 to 8 percent fewer strokes could be diagnosed with reduced salt consumption.

Hypertension is one of the main risk factors for strokes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, more and more scientists and medical professionals are demanding that the salt content in the food industry be limited. Around 80 percent of salt consumption comes from finished products. Salt hides pasta, in ready meals and fast food, said Kirstin Bibbins-Domingo. Pizza is the most important source of salt for young people.

Less salt, better taste Those who do not consume too much salt at a young age experience another positive side effect: "The taste expectations could change in favor of weakly salted dishes," explained Kirstin Bibbins-Domingo. This makes the sense of taste more diverse. The study was presented at the 2010 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. The daily requirement of a healthy adult is only 2 g to 3 g of table salt per day. Alternatively, spices and herbs in fresh, dried or frozen form can refine the food in a variety of ways. (sb November 16, 2010)

Also read:
Too much harmful salt in ready meals
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Photo credit: RainerSturm / pixelio.de

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