Low-Sodium Diet Slashes Heart Risks
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Low-Sodium Diet Slashes Heart Risks

Getting just a smidge less of this in your diet could really help your heart. We're talking about salt intake.

In a study, eating a low-sodium diet -- roughly 1 less teaspoon of salt a day -- was associated with a significantly lower risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease.

The Heart/Salt Connection
Sure, you know being loosey-goosey with the salt shaker can lead to blood pressure troubles. But how much impact does a little pinch have? Quite a bit, it turns out. In a scientific analysis of 13 different studies involving data from nearly 200,000 people, researchers found that the reduction in stroke risk from consuming 5 less grams of salt a day -- a little less than a teaspoon's worth -- was about 23%. And the reduction in heart disease risk was 17%. So a lower salt intake could mean a lot more life.

Live Well on Less
Salt isn't all bad. Our bodies need a certain amount of it to help control blood pressure, send nerve signals, absorb nutrients, and maintain proper fluid balances. But our bodies don't need much to do business -- only about 1/4 teaspoon a day. The problem is that salt is added to just about everything that is prepackaged -- even foods that don't taste salty, like breakfast cereals. So hide your salt shaker, read labels carefully, and choose whole, fresh foods for a low-sodium diet whenever you can.

Here are a few more very important stroke stoppers.