Enjoy Your Salt -- Too Little's As Bad As Too Much

Maybe it comes from growing up with an English mother but we never used salt much in my house, growing up.

So that's probably why I don't like too much salt in my food (and why my mother-in-law says my food is tasteless -- but that's a story for another day!).

Now a new study is saying that too little salt can do as much damage as too much.

According to newswise.com, researchers have shown that the effects of increasing sodium intake on raising blood pressure – a risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, stroke and other problems – become dramatically worse as salt intake rises above 5 grams (.17 of an ounce) per day, especially among people who already have high blood pressure, or who are older than 55, or both.

“While there has been much focus on reducing salt in the diet, an important and ignored approach to lowering blood pressure is increasing the amount of potassium consumed. A balanced approach is what is likely to have the greatest benefit in lowering blood pressure,” writes Andrew  Mente.

While too much salt has long been recognized as a serious health risk, the researchers have also found there may also be a risk from eating too little.

In fact, the lead author of a second report, Martin O’Donnell, suggests that what is now generally recommended as a healthy daily ceiling for salt consumption appears to be set too low, newswise reports.

 “Low sodium intake does reduce blood pressure modestly, compared to moderate intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones that are associated with an increase in risk of death and cardiovascular diseases. The key question is whether these competing physiologic effects result in net clinical benefit or not,” says O’Donnell, an associate clinical professor at McMaster University and National University of Ireland Galway.

So, too much salt or too little?  The study finds that 3 to 6 grams of salt (about 1/10th of an ounce to 2/10th) a day is best.   Eat up!

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