Study: Lower-sodium salt CAN cut risk of stroke and heart attack

Lower-sodium salt CAN cut risk of stroke and heart attack by helping to lower blood pressure, study suggests

  • Team from Harbin Medical University, China examined five studies into salt
  • Those using salt substitutes had 11 per cent lower risk of death during studies
  • They also had a 13 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Using low-sodium alternatives to salt slashes the risk of heart attack, stroke and early death, a major review suggests.

People who switched to a seasoning in which some of the sodium was replaced with potassium also saw their blood pressure fall.

A team from Harbin Medical University, China, examined five studies into salt, involving over 24,000 people. 

Using low-sodium alternatives to salt slashes the risk of heart attack, stroke and early death, a major review suggests

Those who used salt substitutes had an 11 per cent lower risk of death during the studies, which ranged from a month to five years.

They also had a 13 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and an 11 per cent lower odds of heart attack or stroke.

Each 10 per cent lower proportion of sodium chloride in the salt substitute was associated with a 1.53 mmHg greater fall in systolic blood pressure (the higher number). Researcher Dr Maoyi Tian said it ‘supports the adoption of salt substitutes… to prevent major cardiovascular events’.

The NHS advises that adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day, which is equal to 2.4g of sodium or around 1 teaspoon.

Tracy Parker, heart health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This research is a helpful reminder to cut the amount of salt we have in our diets and to look for alternatives.

‘However, while low salt substitutes have less sodium than regular salt, they still contain potassium which may not be suitable for some people with a heart problem and other existing health conditions.

‘If you want to look after your health, it’s better to just eat less salt. Using different herbs and spices when cooking is a great way to add flavour and replace salt.’

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