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Being the salt of the earth doesn't mean eating it.

The latest major report on salt consumption and its effect on blood pressure simply confirms what everyone has long known. However, the report does so in a way that should leave no doubt about the hazards of this all-too-common ingredient.

British researchers analyzed the data of previous studies that involve 47,000 people who live in 24 places throughout the world. They concluded that lowering blood pressure by restricting sodium intake in most successful among these with higher blood pressures.

The American Heart Association says that 62 million Americans have high blood pressure. On average, systolic blood pressure would fall by 7 mm Hg (and as much as 15 mm Hg) if these people would reduce their sodium intakes by only one-third. Simply eliminating salt in cooking or at the table can do this. The researchers further estimate that this would reduce the number of people needing medication to lower blood pressure by 50 percent. Furthermore, it would reduce death from strokes by 26 percent and deaths from coronary heart disease by 15 percent!

Federal laws that would restrict the amount of sodium that manufacturers can add are the key to the large, across-the-board reductions in disease and death that the British researchers believe to be possible. However, each of us can make significant inroads to the problem by carefully avoiding processed foods high in sodium. Cured meats (bacon, ham, luncheon meats, etc.) and hot dogs and other sausages are among those to avoid. Also, be careful of canned, frozen and dried foods, including TV dinners, precooked fish, and other seafood. Read those labels carefully and compare one product with another. Finally, substitute nonsodium-containing spices for the salt in your cooking and at the table.
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Title Annotation:salt consumption and blood pressure
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:285
Previous Article:Use it or lose it, but don't abuse it.
Next Article:Back to the basics - a follow-up.
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