What are the health benefits of a low-salt diet?


Quick Answer

People who follow a low-salt diet have a reduced risk of heart disease and hypertension, according to WebMD. Sodium chloride, or salt, commonly causes hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. When the force of blood on the artery walls is too strong, the pressure causes damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs. As of 2015, one in three Americans suffers from hypertension.

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What are the health benefits of a low-salt diet?
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Full Answer

The body needs sodium to maintain the proper balance of fluids and normal pH levels in the blood, according to SFGate. Sodium also plays a role in muscle contractions and in transmitting nerve signals. Healthy kidneys function to balance sodium levels and purge excess sodium from the body; however, too much salt can cause water retention and additional fluid buildup in those suffering from chronic heart, liver and kidney disease, causing added stress on the body to maintain normal functions.

Experts recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day; however studies show that risk of hypertension reduces even further when sodium intake remains at approximately 1,500 milligrams per day, explains WebMD. Paying attention to the percent daily value on nutrition labels of foods is important on a low sodium diet. Foods that have 5 percent or less sodium are low-sodium products; individuals should avoid anything containing 20 percent sodium and higher.

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