Too much salt increases the risk of a stroke
Eating too much sodium (salt) and not enough potassium is associated with high blood pressure and linked to increased risk of heart disease and early death. We know that reducing salt consumption and/or increasing potassium in the diet are helpful ways to lower blood pressure. One way to do this is by using salt substitutes that replace part of the sodium chloride in regular salt with potassium chloride. This combines these effects in a single product. Salt substitute examples include Morton Salt Substitute, Nu-Salt and NoSalt.
Low sodium can prevent strokes and heart attacks
Researchers in China reported the results of a clinical trial including over 20,000 participants across 600 villages in China. The average age of the participants was 65 years. Half were female and 88% had a history of high blood pressure. Sufficient salt substitute was provided to cover all household cooking at an average of 20 g per person per day. Participants used the salt substitute instead of regular salt for all cooking, seasoning, and food preservation. They were also encouraged to use the salt substitute more sparingly.
Participants in the control villages continued to use regular salt as they usually would. Over the next 5 years, the rate of stroke was lower with the salt substitute than with regular salt. In addition, the rates of major cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) and death were lower in the group that used salt substitutes as well. The rate of serious negative events attributed to high potassium levels was not significantly higher with the salt substitute than with regular salt. Use of the salt substitute was not linked to any serious side effects.
Salt substitutes containing less sodium and added potassium are already available in supermarkets and taste like normal salt. These major findings now show that they also work very well to prevent strokes and other serious illnesses.