Monitoring Salt Intake Essential for Avoiding Hypertension and Maintaining Good Health
Keeping a salt shaker at the table or adding salt to a healthy meal, may increase the chances of developing hypertension.
According to new research study conducted by Stamier et.al. (2018) called the The INTERMAP Study – dietary sodium intake is directly linked to blood pressure levels. Main focus during the research was on sodium (main ingredient in salt) and potassium (associated with lowering blood pressure). Intake of excess sodium also increases the chances of stroke and heart disease. Every 1 in 4 Indian, has succumbed to heart disease in 2015!
The study revealed that the 24 – hour urinary excretion of sodium/potassium ratio was directly proportional to the BP level of the subjects (4680 men and women aged 40 – 59 years from the UK, USA, Japan and China).
The salt intake guideline by the World Health Organisation is 1 teaspoon, which equates to roughly 5 gms of salt, but we (Indians) consume 10.6 gms of salt individually on a daily basis! That is 6% more than the recommended allowance.
A population centric study, carried out by Claire Johnson, a research fellow with The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, showed that in India, as a generic baseline measurement consumes way above the recommended allowance. According to Johnson “By lowering your salt consumption by 1 gm, you lower your heart attack and stroke risk by 4.8%. And the more you cut down, the more you gain.”
Research over the past 25 years show that we have reduced our consumption of pulses, locally available cereals fruits and vegetables and moved towards eating processed and fast foods. This is leading to a higher incident rate of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
In India, hypertension leads to 57% of deaths caused due to stroke and 24% deaths caused due to coronary heart disease. 33% of the urban population and 25% of the rural population is suffering from hypertension currently.
Top 3 ways reduce the risk of developing hypertension
- Incorporating an assortment of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet can help balance the sodium/potassium ratio in the blood.
- Eating natural, less processed and freshly cooked food flavoured with herbs, spices, lemons and less salt is a good way to begin managing hypertension.
- The DASH diet is also recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure levels.
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