everything we eat contains at least a little sodium, although
many foods, especially the processed variety, contain way
too much. Our bodies only need about 500 milligrams (mg) of
sodium a day; although current dietary recommendations allow
for 2,000 4,000 mg (1-2 teaspoons of salt), statistics show
that the average adult consumes almost double that amount
on a daily basis.
Limiting your sodium intake can reduce your risk of developing
high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, especially
if youčre overweight, according to a study in the Journal
of the American Medical Association. Researchers estimated
dietary sodium intake in 2,688 overweight subjects and 6,797
nonoverweight subjects, then assessed the incidence of and/or
death from cardiovascular disease over 19 years of follow-up.
Results: Among overweight participants, a relatively small
increase in sodium intake was associated with substantial
increases in disease risk: a 32% higher risk of stroke; a
44% higher risk of heart disease; a 61% higher risk of death
from heart disease; and a 39% higher risk of death from all
causes. Dietary sodium intake was not significantly associated
with cardiovascular disease risk in nonoverweight participants.
If you already have high blood pressure or a developing
heart condition, restricting your sodium intake is even more
imperative. Your doctor can give you more information on sodium
and provide nutritional guidelines suitable to your specific
He J, Ogden LG, Vupputuri S, et al. Dietary sodium intake
and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight
adults. Journal of the American Medical Association,
Dec. 1, 1999: Vol. 282, No. 21, pp2027-34.