We've all heard that cutting salt from our diet makes us healthier. However, few of us know exactly how a low sodium diet benefits us and how our body becomes healthier. Various studies have found specific advantages from reducing sodium intake. Below we outline the top three ways consuming less sodium benefits our health.
1. Lower Blood Pressure
According to WebMD, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) program showed in one specific experiment that the less sodium the subjects consumed, the lower their blood pressure was. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ran this program and divided volunteers up into three groups.
One group had a diet of 3,300 milligrams of salt every day. This is the average amount seen among Americans countrywide. The second group limited their salt intake to 2,400 milligrams, which is the recommended amount among nutritionists. The last group of volunteers had a diet of only 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. Across all groups, the lesser salt intake led to lower blood pressure.
"The results of the DASH-sodium study proved convincingly that cutting back on sodium even below recommended levels has impressive benefits," explained Christine A. Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at Georgia State University.
One report published in 2003 that took results from various research studies found that decreasing salt intake by 1,000 milligrams per day reduced systolic blood pressure by 4 mm Hg on average and diastolic blood pressure by 2.5 mm Hg. This was true for people with normal blood pressure as well as patients with unhealthy levels.
2. A Low Sodium Diet Increases Lifespan
According to the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that adults who had a low sodium diet of less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day had much lower mortality risk when compared with adults who had high salt intake. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The researchers looked at data from the Trials of Hypertension Prevention Follow-up Study, which involved more than 3,000 patients with high blood pressure between the ages of 30 to 54. Essentially, with every addition of 1,000 milligrams of salt to the diet, mortality risk rose by 12 percent.
The researchers looked at urine samples instead of solely relying on subject feedback or questionnaires. Essentially, the researchers uncovered that a low sodium diet could actually lengthen people's lifespans.
3. Reduced Salt Intake Benefits the Kidneys
The American Society of Nephrology reported that chronic kidney disease patients who decreased their sodium intake for two weeks saw a drop in blood pressure as well as a decrease in extracellular fluid levels and protein excretion in urine samples.
If the patients were able to continue this type of low sodium diet on a long-term basis, their risk of progressing to kidney failure would decrease by 30 percent. This study directly shows that reducing your salt intake can benefit your kidneys. Low salt diets have also been shown to decrease the risk of kidney stones.
Are you wondering how you can reduce the amount of salt you usually eat on a daily basis? There are a number of different tips we outline below that will help you reduce your salt intake.
Pay attention to food labels.
Prepare your own meals and recipes by making sure your lunches and dinners are low in sodium.
Swap out sodium-rich soy sauce for coconut aminos, which have 65 percent less sodium than soy sauce.
Buy fresh produce including fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit.
Add other spices to your meals besides salt such as nutmeg, rosemary, ginger, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, or oregano.
Rinse all canned food with water to reduce the amount of sodium in your meals.
If you follow these key steps, you'll be healthier and enjoy the benefits of a low sodium diet. Your heart and kidneys will be better for it and you may even increase your lifespan!