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Less salt – Less Cardiovascular Deaths

An excessive consumption of salt increases the risk of cardiovascular disease according to various studies.

According to U.S. researchers, in United States a decrease of 3g daily intake of salt would reduce new heart disease cases by about 60,000 to 1,20,000 and heart attacks by about 54,000 to 1,00,000. These figures could lead the US government to impose a restriction on salt content in foods.

Over consumption of salt usually causes an increase in blood pressure which may eventually lead to various cardiovascular problems (attack, heart disease and stroke).  The team of Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of San Francisco (California) has estimated through computer simulation based on recent data and as per the results reduced salt intake can produce dramatic benefits on the whole American population aged from 35 to 85 years.

According to their results, a reduction of 3 grams daily consumption of salt could reduce heart disease cases by 60,000 to 1,20,000 (9,00,000 deaths annually in the United States), strokes by about 32,000 to 66,000(about 7,95,000 annually) and heart attacks by about  54,000 to 1,00,000 (noting that in 2005, 4,45,687 Americans have died).

The study authors believe that this reduction of 3 grams would “approximately” produce the same effect that of a 50% reduction in consumption of tobacco in the fight against heart disease.  They even believe that it would ease $ 10 to $ 24 billion annual budget dedicated to health care in the United States.

According to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), salt consumption varies greatly from one country to another.  For example, Britons consume about 8.6 grams per day, and Croats consume about 12 grams. According to the French Agency for Food Safety – AFSSA (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments), the French consume between 8 and 10 grams per day.  The agency recommends to reduce the consumption to around 6 to 8 grams. World Health Organization advises to consume around 5 grams of salt per day, or about one teaspoon.  The concern is that 75% of the salt we eat comes from processed foods.

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