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To Salt or Not to Salt?

For decades, experts have been recommending that we cut down on their salt consumption to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. According to a new study, however, while reducing dietary salt does lower blood pressure, it may also lead to a slight boost in cholesterol, a separate risk factor for heart disease. Danish researchers report in the American Journal of Hypertension that reducing sodium consumption led to a 1% drop in blood pressure in people who had normal pressure readings, and a 3.5% drop in those with hypertension. But other changes may offset those benefits: people who cut dietary salt also saw a 2.5% increase in cholesterol levels and a 7% boost in triglycerides. Like high blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are risk factors for heart disease. Excessive triglycerides can also contribute to diabetes.