Health: Heart Health Wellness Center
  • Search Wellness Centers
  • Find a Pharmacy
    Enter your Zip code or city to find your Local Pharmacy
  • Heart Health shelf zone 2 banner

  • Heart Health Wellness Center
  • Salt Is No Friend to Heart or Head

    Learn how you can benefit from eating less salt and lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

  • Salt Is No Friend to Heart or Head

    Salt Is No Friend to Heart or Head: Main Image
    Processed food is the single biggest source of salt in the American diet
    Healthnotes Newswire (December 3, 2009)—When it comes to heart and vascular health, nearly everyone can benefit from eating less salt. Studies have long linked high salt diets to greater risk of high blood pressure, itself a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. But health experts aren’t sure whether salty diets increase risk of these diseases in people without high blood pressure, and in those not as sensitive to the hypertensive effects of too much salt. New research provides some insight.

    Salty studies

    A process called meta-analysis was used to combine and analyze data from 13 previous studies. The advantage of this approach is that it allows for large numbers of people to be studied together, increasing the likelihood that relationships between dietary salt and risk of disease will be discovered, if they exist.

    The study revealed that:

    • Higher salt diets are linked to higher rates of strokes and cardiovascular events (heart attacks). Even among people with normal blood pressure, higher salt intakes increased disease risk.
    • The relationship between salt and risk of strokes and cardiovascular events is dose-dependent: the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her risk of these diseases.
    • For a 5-gram per day difference in typical salt intake, there is a 23% increased rate of stroke and a 17% increased rate of cardiovascular events. For example, a group of people eating an average of 10 grams of salt per day will have 23% more cases of stroke and 17% more cardiovascular events compared with a group eating 5 grams of salt per day.
    • At the population level, a 5-gram reduction in daily salt intake could lead to 1.25 million fewer deaths from stroke and approximately three million fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease worldwide.

    Salt vs. sodium

    Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. In the US the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is given in terms of sodium, not salt. The maximum recommended intake of sodium is 2,400 mg (2.4 grams) per day.

    To convert grams of sodium into grams of salt, multiply by 2.5. This means 2.4 grams of sodium is the same as 6 grams (2.4 x 2.5) of salt.

    Average salt intake in the US is 10-12 grams per day. This means most of us need to cut our salt intake in half to reduce our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

    Desalination

    To reduce your salt intake:

    • Processed food is the single biggest source of salt in the American diet. Particular salt offenders include soup, crackers, chips, bread and baked goods, cereal, sauces and dressings, cold cuts and deli meats, pickled foods, and cured and smoked foods.
    • Read labels and avoid foods with more than 240 mg of sodium, or more than 10% of daily intake, per serving.
    • Decrease dietary salt slowly over time. As your taste buds adapt, you will be amazed at how salty things you used to eat now taste.
    • Remove the shaker from the table to reduce the temptation to salt your food.
    • Iodized salt is one of the main sources of dietary iodine in the US, so Americans eating less salt need make sure to get enough iodine from other sources, such as a multivitamin that contains this mineral.
    • Cook with less salt.
    • Limit salty items such as soy sauce, ketchup, broth, and bullion cubes.
    • Always chose “no salt added” when buying canned foods.

    (BMJ 2009; Online First Nov 24, 2009)

    Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by The New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

  • Used with permission. ©2014 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. 

     
    Important Walmart Disclaimer: All content provided is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a medical professional. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking any diet, exercise or health program, or before using any prescription or over-the-counter drug. Neither the author nor Walmart.com assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site. If you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, always read the ingredient list carefully for all products prior to consumption. If the ingredient list is not available on the product, check with the product manufacturer, or do not consume the product.

  • You may like...

    • Veridian Health Automatic Talking Blood Pressure Monitor with Advanced Digital Display, Standard and XL Cuff

      $8599

      Out of stock online

    • UltraScopes Pediatric Stethoscope Light Green Background with Lady Bugs

      $8795

    • Sivan Health and Fitness Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

      $3399

    • Mabis 01-350-058 Medic-Kit3 EMT Kit - Orange

      $11418

    • Mabis 05-260-015 Sphygmomanometer Cuff and Two Tube Bladder - Blue Nylon Child

      $2005

    • MDF Instruments MDF2100450D11 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Adult D-Ring - Double Tube -Black

      $2777

    • MDF Instruments MDF209047114 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Thigh - Single Tube -Pastel Blue

      $4288

    • MDF Instruments MDF202041016 MDF Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff > Infant > Double Tube

      $2628

    • Lifesource One-Step Auto Inflation Blood Pressure

      $6680

    • Ovente Beatech Collection BH5000W Heart Rate Monitor Watch

      $3546

    • UltraScopes Adult Stethoscope Royal Blue Confetti

      $8795

    • Polar Cycling Speed Sensor Set W.I.N.D. - 91026655

      $5995

    • MDF Instruments MDF203042014 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Pediatric - Double Tube -Pastel Blue

      $3454

    • MDF Instruments MDF808B08 Professional Aneroid Sphygmomanometer -Purple -Adult

      $4722

    • Mabis 01-140-013 Precision Aneroid Sphygmomanometer - Blue Nylon Cuff - Infant

      $3513

    • Pyle PYLE PHRM38BK Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black) PYLPHRM38BK

      $3546

    • Garmin 010-10997-07 Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor -Soft Strap

      $8361

    • Mabis 01-160-021 MatchMates Aneroid Sphygmomanometer Kit - Black

      $3793

    • Kettler International 7937-500 Polar Chest Strap

      $6860

    • Mabis 05-274-016 Replacement Cuff - Blue Nylon Large Adult

      $2209

    • MDF Instruments MDF808B04 Professional Aneroid Sphygmomanometer -Navy Blue -Adult

      $4722

    • Mabis 05-226-060 Signature Palm Aneroid Manometer - Chrome

      $7879

    • MDF Instruments MDF209047012 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Thigh - Double Tube -Grey

      $4093

    • MDF Instruments MDF202041011 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Infant - Double Tube -Black

      $2513

    • Polar RS800CX GPS Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch (Black)

      $49995

    • MDF Instruments MDF208046008 Latex-Free Replacement Blood Pressure Cuff - Large Adult - Double Tube -Purple

      $3115

    • Briggs Healthcare Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope

      $15616

    • Prestige Medical Premium Infant Aneroid Sphygmomanometer

      $2568

    • Pyle PYLE PHRM34 Heart Rate Monitor Watch PYLPHRM34

      $3573

    • Mabis 01-550-058 Medic-Kit5 EMT Kit - Orange

      $13523

    • Oregon Scientific SE138 Strap-Free Heart Rate Monitor

      $6657

    • Mabis 01-110-026 Legacy Aneroid Sphygmomanometer - Black Nylon Cuff - Large Adult

      $4770

  • Heart Health Costs Less at Walmart
    If you’re concerned about your heart, Walmart’s Heart Health Wellness Center is a great place to find savings on heart health essentials and key information about how to maintain a strong heart. Save when you stock up on everyday heart health basics, like vitamins and supplements, or get great prices on heart rate and blood pressure monitors from brands like ReliOn, Omron and Braun. Not sure where to start? Our Heart Health Buying Guide has tons of ideas your heart will love and make it easy to start saving at Walmart.com. You can also read articles about diet and weight management, then support your cardiovascular health with products to help control cholesterol levels and weight – both over the counter and through the Walmart Pharmacy.