Sodium and Heart Health: Research Update
Salt restriction for heart health?
Most agree that sodium restriction has some effect on lowering blood pressure, but does avoiding salt actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease?
And what about other minerals? Do they interact to affect heart health?
A study just published in the journal Nutrients asked these questions and came up with some intriguing answers.
Researchers looked at data from a large group of people participating in the Framingham Offspring Study—more than 2000 adults between the ages of 30 and 64 who did not have heart disease at baseline.
Information was collected from participants about their dietary intake and health status (including heart disease) every 4 years for about 20 years. Here’s what they found:
What can we make of all this?
It’s more important to consume a balance of essential minerals than it is to only restrict sodium
How do we do that?
Avoid processed and packaged foods (these are high in sodium and stripped of other important minerals).
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other whole foods. You’ll naturally consume more potassium, magnesium, and calcium without the added sodium.
Please remember—this study was a population study of generally healthy individuals. If you’re at a high risk for heart disease, please talk with a healthcare professional for specific nutritional advice.
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Pickering RT, Bradlee ML, Singer MR, Moore LL. Higher Intakes of Potassium and Magnesium, but Not Lower Sodium, Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in the Framingham Offspring Study. Nutrients. 2021; 13: 269. [link]
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