“Most people’s consumption was “moderate” and did not increase the chance of heart attacks or strokes, a study reveals.
The study by McMaster University in Ontario published in The Lancet journal followed 94,378 people aged 35 to 70 for an average of eight years in 18 countries.
Martin O’Donnell, study author and Associate Professor of Medicine, said: “There is no convincing evidence that people with moderate or average sodium intake need to reduce their sodium intake for prevention of heart disease and stroke.
“Only in the communities with the most sodium intake, those over five grammes a day of sodium, which is mainly in China, did we find a direct link between sodium intake and major cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
“In communities that consumed less than five grammes of sodium a day, the opposite was the case.”
Associate Professor Andrew Mente said: “The World Health Organisation recommends consumption of less than one teaspoon of salt a day as a preventative measure against cardiovascular disease, but there is little evidence in terms of improved health outcomes.
“Our study adds to growing evidence to suggest that, at moderate intake, sodium may have a beneficial role in cardiovascular health.
“We found all major cardiovascular problems decreased in communities where there is an increased consumption of potassium which is found in fruit, vegetables, dairy foods and nuts,” he added.”