The Right Amount of Salt for a Heart Healthy Diet
In some cases, and even according to the American Heart Association, people are suggested to limit their sodium intake. However, there is building research that salt doesn’t deserve the bad rap it actually gets — and that sodium is an important part of a healthy diet.
In fact, new studies show that there are actually negative effects of a diet too low in sodium and contradict outdated studies that support low-sodium diets.
For example, multiple studies have shown that
eating lower sodium diets lead to slightly lowered
blood pressure in people with previously high blood
pressure. However, other studies found that limiting sodium intake can actually increase risk of heart disease while a meta-analysis found that those that
cut sodium altogether saw no benefits to their health. Other research still shows the results of a salt-limited diet can actually lead to diseases and have negative effects including: hypertension, insulin resistance, fatigue and lowered sleep quality.
Multiple studies published in the American Journal of Hypertension show that limiting sodium intake to less than 2,500 milligrams a day can actually cause hormone dysregulation and can increase plasma renin activity that can lead to dramatically increased risk of heart attack. When it comes to insulin resistance, some studies show that low-salt diets actually can prompt a 15 to 20 percent increase in insulin resistance in study volunteers that were otherwise healthy. Insulin resistance leads to fat gain and over the long term it can lead to type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Sleep is found to be one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle. When healthy sleep patterns are disrupted, the body becomes susceptible to illness, disease and more. And salt can even play an important role in a good night’s rest. Participants with increased blood pressure that participated in one study found that limited salt intake can actually interfere with the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which can cause poor sleep quality, exhaustion and an increase in quicker muscle fatigue.
While salt has been taking the rap, it appears that potassium could be the problem. Rather, lack of potassium is the issue – in fact close to 97 percent of Americans are deficient in potassium. But potassium and sodium work in tandem so when people get enough potassium in their diets, sodium can cease the rise in blood pressure. And, in fact, a getting enough potassium can even lower blood pressure more than eliminating salt from one’s diet. So as long as people are getting enough potassium in their diets, they can worry less about limiting their salt intake.
Every person should follow the advice of their own doctor when it comes to their proper sodium intake. But keep in mind that salt may not be the enemy after all! Enjoying moderate amounts of clean, all natural sea salt can be a delicious part of every meal.