Adding the right amount of salt can make even the most basic food much more pleasant to our taste buds, which is why it sometimes feels like the magic ingredient in every meal. However, salt is not the best for our health, especially not in any significant amounts, although avoiding it altogether is the right way to go.
Salt is inexpensive and enhances the flavors of almost any meal but at the end of the day, we cannot pretend it is not bad for us all.
This is because of the sodium in it, one of the two main elements that make up this wonder condiment.
Already established studies have proven that there are real links between an excess of sodium and some serious diseases such as heart problems.
More precisely, it is believed that consuming too much dietary salt greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, other studies have also discovered that a lack of dietary potassium has a very similar effect on our hearts by affecting blood pressure negatively.
With that being said, there are actual products that can kill two birds with one stone in this situation, ensuring that your heart is healthy and protected while also not taking away from you enjoying your food properly.
More precisely, they are salt substitutes you can find at your local supermarket already that have added, higher levels of potassium and reduced levels of sodium while still tasting like regular salt.
Based on what we already know about consuming a lot of sodium and not enough potassium, these substitutes really seem to do the trick but due to the lack of clinical trials measuring how much they actually help with avoiding the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even death, questions still remain as far as effectiveness is concerned.
Regardless, there is a massive new study in China that seems to support this theory that pretty much everybody would benefit a lot from completely replacing salt with these substitutes.
In fact, it would be such a monumental change that it would be able to prevent several million deaths internationally every year!
Clinical epidemiologist Bruce Neal states that “Almost everyone in the world eats more salt than they should. If salt was switched for a substitute worldwide, there would be millions premature deaths prevented every year.”
Neal and his team recruited no less than 20,000 participants with a history of poor blood pressure and even strokes from rural China for the study.
The average age was 65 and the people came from no less than 600 different villages to ensure an accurate result unchanged by geographical factors.
The experiment was designed to last for no less than five years but was slightly altered by the pandemic.
Half of the participants were given salt substitutes to use for that period of time while the other half, which acted as the control group, continued with their usual salt consumption, their cooking practices remaining unchanged.
In those almost 5 years, 4,000 of the participants had passed away the cause of death being a stroke in 3,000 of those cases!
Furthermore, 5,000 others survived a variety of cardiovascular health scares.
What this study proved, however, was that those who were supplied with salt substitutes were significantly less likely to experience any sort of illness relating to the cardiovascular system whether it would go on to result in death or not.
The results were as follows: for every 1,000 people per year, there were 29.14 strokes vs. 33.65 strokes in the case of regular salt consumers, 49.09 major cardiovascular events as opposed to 56.29 and 39.28 deaths as opposed to 44.61.
The researchers state that this experiment’s clear results confirm that replacing salt with substitutes at the level of the whole country could save no less than 460,000 lives every year.
Furthermore, if the change happened globally, millions would be saved from death and major cardiovascular diseases yearly.
Of course, this would mean switching salt with its healthier alternative not just in our personal kitchens but in the whole food processing industry as well since that is where most of our daily consumption of sodium comes from anyway.
And the best thing is that the change on a global scale would not even cost that much!
“While salt substitutes are a little bit more expensive than regular salt, they are still very low cost – just a few dollars per year to make the switch. This is simply the single most worthwhile piece of research I have ever been involved with,’ Neal explains