311012 Too much salt may be dangerous for your brain as well as your heart

Too much salt may be dangerous for your brain as well as your heart

A recent study published in the journal Stroke, finds evidence in older adults that a high sodium diet raises the risk of stroke.

Strokes occur when an artery supplying blood to the brain becomes clogged, blocked or bursts leaving the brain without an adequate supply of oxygen. The study found that those eating the most salt in their diets were about three times more likely to have a stroke than those who kept their intake within the guidelines established by the American Heart Association (AHA). AHA recommends no more than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.

For those people who ate more than the suggested amount the risk of a stroke rose above normal for the population. However, this risk rose precipitously when the amount exceeded 4000 milligrams a day.

The danger of too much salt becomes apparent because it tends to create a rise in blood pressure, which causes problems in the kidneys as well as the brain and heart.

High salt contributes to a buildup of fluids in the body, particularly so in the ankles, feet and legs.

According to the AHA, a reduction of salt in your diet can help reduce blood pressure readings and edema, the buildup of fluids. If you are over fifty-one, have hypertension or a chronic kidney disease or are African American the maximum of 1500 milligrams per day are essential for maintaining a healthy brain, heart, and kidneys.

Reducing salt in your diet can be as simple as reading the labels on the food you buy and gradually eliminating those with lots of salt.

This includes some breads, fewer salty restaurant meals, pizzas, pasta, cold cuts, fast foods, and cheese. Start by looking at the labels and keeping track of the amount of salt, you eat each day. When you reach 1500 milligrams, stop eating any more sodium for the day.

If this is too hard then gradually introduce salt substitutes into your meals. You can do this by using lemon or vinegar on your food or experimenting with different spices such as oregano, different peppers, sage, rosemary, tarragon or my least favorite of all garlic; yuck.