Eat Less Salt – Live Longer!
Usually we call your attention to articles about oral health but, with the recent article from The New York Times, we´re starting to send news of interest about general health and well-being. Most of our patient letters still will pertain to dental matters, though some will be broader in scope.
The headline of a New York Times article, Big Benefits Are Seen From Eating Less Salt sums up the latest news nicely: Researchers calculate that if adults reduced their daily salt intake by three grams, or half a teaspoon, there would be significant decreases in heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and, ultimately, death. Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure, in turn, can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
According to the researchers, whose study was first reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, a half-teaspoon less of salt per day would cut new cases of coronary heart disease by 60,000 to 120,000 annually, stroke by 32,000 to 66,000, and myocardial infarction by 54,000 to 99,000 — and reduce the number of deaths by 44,000 to 92,000. Everyone would benefit from less salt, the Times notes, but people at higher risk for heart problems — blacks, people with hypertension, and people over age 65 — would benefit the most.
An added benefit, as reported elsewhere, is that the half-teaspoon-a-day reduction in salt would save the U.S. up to $24 billion a year in health care costs.
Since we´re as concerned about your overall health as your oral health, we urge you to consider selecting lower-sodium brands when food shopping, cutting back gradually on your daily use of salt, and not salting restaurant or prepared meals without tasting them first.