An advisory, which was published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal, Circulation, reinforces the AHA’s 2011 policy that people should consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.
“Our recommendation is simple in the sense that it applies to the entire U.S. population, not just at-risk groups,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the AHA. “Americans of all ages, regardless of individual risk factors, can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by restricting their daily consumption of sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams.”
Research author Paul K. Whelton, M.D., M.Sc., noted that people should not pay attention to recent studies that say decreased sodium levels do not affect cardiovascular health, because the AHA has found flaws in their methodology.
The president of the AHA, Donna Arnett, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., reported that the organization strives to improve the cardiovascular wellness of people in the U.S. by 20 percent by 2020, and a large part of the effort is focused on lowering sodium intake. She noted that the effort will be a collaboration between healthcare organizations, the food industry and policy makers.
Sources of sodium
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDH), most of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from processed foods and foods from restaurants, and the average American consumes between 2,900 and 4,300 milligrams of sodium a day. To avoid foods with high sodium, the source recommends looking for the words “soda” or “sodium” on the label or the symbol “Na.”
To lower sodium intake, the RIDH suggests not using canned vegetables when cooking and it also notes that people should use spices and herbs rather than salt to flavor food. If someone is going to use canned vegetables, the source suggests that they rinse them under water before using them. When eating at a restaurant, people can also request that their food be prepared without added salt.
Sodium and high blood pressure
The AHA reports that sodium can increase blood pressure because it keeps fluid in the body and subsequently puts strain on the heart. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower blood pressure, especially in patients who suffer from hypertension. You can get omega-3s from chia seeds and hemp milk along with an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.