We all know we’re supposed to eat less salt for the sake of our hearts. But as you go to add one more shake to that steak, chances are you’re thinking: How much difference can it really make?
As it turns out, a lot.
A new study published on BMJ Open credits the United Kingdom’s 15 percent reduction in salt intake from 2003 to 2011 with a 40 percent plummet in deaths from heart attacks and strokes.
Really? Just a few salt-shakes?
It’s true. The study analyzed information from 31,500 participants in the Health Survey for England starting in 2003, which is when nationwide efforts at reducing salt consumption began. The data included urinalysis for sodium content and considered other risk reduction factors, including use of blood-pressure-lowering drugs, reduced smoking, and a slight rise in fruit and vegetable intake. Even with 70 percent of the U.K. population still eating more than the recommended six grams of salt a day—80 percent of it coming from processed foods—stroke deaths fell by 42 percent and deaths from coronary heart disease by 40 percent. Average daily salt intake decreased by 1.4 grams over the course of the study.
So if you’re ever tempted to think little things don’t matter, remember these numbers—and put down that shaker, for the sake of your ticker.
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