Studies that have been done for several decades have shown that excessive consumption of salt affects our health significantly. In particular, it seems that sodium, which is one of the two main ions in table salt, has as a consequence the increased blood pressure that over the decades leads to arteriosclerosis and an increased likelihood of stroke and heart attacks. All experts agree that it is very important to reduce salt consumption, although in recent years it seems that the exact opposite is happening. In any case, it is important for us to know what is good for our health and, contrary to what most people do, we should try to implement it. For several decades, salt substitutes have been available on the market. Salt substitutes, which you can find in supermarkets, consist of a mixture of sodium chloride and potassium chloride. You will find a wide range of proportions in the mixtures, as there are products that contain only 20% potassium chloride, while you will also find products that are composed entirely of potassium chloride. Often in my practice, both my patients and my clients ask me if these salt substitutes are healthy. Half of my answer is based on a recently published study showing that if someone has elevated blood pressure, and therefore an increased chance of having a stroke, they seem to benefit from replacing regular table salt with a salt substitute that contains less sodium This study was done in China on 21,000 patients who were given a salt substitute with the instruction to use it freely instead of the regular table salt they had been using until the start of the study. The results of the study show that people who adopted the salt substitute showed a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. But this is not the whole truth. The study was done in China, in villages, which means that we cannot rush and adopt it in our own reality. The most important difference is the fact that in the countries of the West less and less people rely for their nutrition on food that they prepare at home and more and more on food that they take ready from outside. Even the food one eats at home has undergone some form of preparation. This means that if you change the salt you have in your salt shaker and go from regular to using a salt substitute, it will not affect at all the vast majority of salt obtained from cheese, cold meats, ready-made sauces, meats that you consume in taverns and steakhouses and the unexpectedly huge amounts of salt found in ready baked goods. The population of the study done in China ate almost exclusively foods that they prepared at home, and that means even the cheeses and cold meats the study participants did not get ready-made from the supermarket but prepared themselves. Also, unlike today's city dwellers, they never ate out, which means they actually switched the salt they consumed from regular to a substitute. Does this mean that salt substitute is not healthy? No I did not say that. It seems that the salt substitute is indeed healthy and it is good to discuss the possibility of starting to use it in the preparation of the foods you eat at home, after first talking to the doctor who follows you and approves this change, because there are diseases and conditions which prohibit the consumption of salt substitutes. What is also very important is not to just adopt the salt substitute. If you really want to reduce the amount of salt you consume daily, you must also significantly reduce the foods you eat outside the home, as well as significantly reduce the consumption of cheese and cold meats. Also, as an additional measure you can make sure to significantly increase fruits and vegetables that have potassium in natural form and help the body eliminate excess sodium that causes damage to the vessels of the brain and heart. Thank you very much.

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