The equivalent of approximately two teaspoons of salt a day is all it takes to potentially cause structural heart damage leading to heart failure.
A U.S. study of almost 3000 people, with the median age of 49 years old, examined data from lab tests of sodium intake, heart structure and heart function.
It found those consuming 3.7 grams or more of salt per day had a significantly higher rate of damage to their heart, than those that consumed lower levels.
Commenting on the study, Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute Director, Professor Tom Marwick said it doesn’t take much to hit the daily recommended level of salt intake.
The study found these people were likely to have a larger left atrium and signs of muscle strain that could ultimately lead to stroke, heart failure and other forms of heart disease,” said Prof. Marwick.
“Unfortunately, high salt intake is as common in Australia as it is in America. Salt is common in snacks, prepared and preserved food. It’s important that Australians are aware of the salt content of foods and choose accordingly.
Prof Marwick said the optimum salt intake is still unclear.
“It seems moderation rather than avoidance is the best and most achievable option,” he said.
“The average Australian consumes 10 grams day. The Heart Foundation proposes an intake of less than 6 grams a day in the population and less than 4 grams a day in people with high blood pressure or known cardiovascular disease.”
EDITORS NOTE: Please find link to the Baker Institute’s fact sheet below which demonstrates food swaps that can be made to a daily intake to reduce salt intake.