There is still a lot of confusion over the amount of salt that is safe to eat on a daily basis. The safe consumption of salt also depends on the climate and the weather. Sodium is one of the most important minerals needed by the body and is found in all tissues. Low sodium (hyponatremia) is associated with many disease conditions and even death, especially in hot weather. On the other hand, over-consumption of salt is also linked to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) and kidney disease, as consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure. Seeking to find out just how much salt can safely be eaten by normal people without cardiovascular disease, scientists from McMaster University and researchers from 21 countries joined in a study. The results were published August 11, 2018 in the Lancet Journal and showed that salt can be consumed up to 5 grams a day by people who do not have cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology Study
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology Study is ongoing in 21 countries, and this part of the study examining dietary patterns of salt consumption focused on 18 countries. The study followed 95,767 adults ranging in age from 35-70, who did not have cardiovascular problems or diseases at the beginning of the study. These participants were followed over a period of eight years. The researchers checked morning fasting urine samples of the participants to estimate how much sodium and potassium were excreted over 24 hours. They also assessed community-level associations between sodium and potassium intake and blood pressure in 369 communities, as well as cardiovascular disease and mortality in 255 communities.
In China where 80% of the communities consumed more than 5 grams of salt a day there were increased cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes. In other countries where 84% of the communities consumed 3-5 grams a salt of day there was not an increased risk for cardiovascular events.
Normal People can Safely Take up to 5 grams of Salt Daily
Results of their collaborative research found that normal people without cardiovascular disease can safely consume up to five grams of salt a day (2.5 teaspoons). Consuming more than 5 grams a day was associated with increased cardiovascular events. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease, you must follow the advice of your doctor.
Diet High in Potassium-Rich Foods Lowered Risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death
The researchers also found that people who consumed a diet rich in potassium foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and death.
Low Sodium and Seniors
Aging can make seniors more vulnerable for developing low sodium, especially as seniors may be taking drugs such as diuretics, anti-depressants and pain killers. A simple blood test for electrolytes can show if your levels of sodium are too high or too low or are at a normal level.
Low sodium (hyponatremia) can cause health issues. A few of them are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue
- Irritability and restlessness
- Muscle weakness, cramps or spasms
- Low or high blood pressure
Rehabilitation from Cardiovascular Disease
If you or your loved one need short-term rehab for some cardiovascular problem like recovery from a heart attack or a stroke, you can find exceptional cardiac rehabilitative therapy and post-stroke care at the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey.
The study shows that normal, healthy people can consume up to 5 grams of salt a day, but not more. People with heart disease, kidney disease or problems with high blood pressure must follow doctor’s orders regarding how much salt they can take on a daily basis.