WASHINGTON: Steadily reducing sodium in the foods we buy and eat could save a half-million Americans from dying premature deaths over a decade, says a new study.
And a more abrupt reduction to 2,200 milligrams per day — a 40 percent drop from current levels — could boost the tally of lives saved over 10 years to 850,000, researchers have projected.
The new estimates, published Tuesday in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, are the results of three separate teams crunching numbers at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Americans currently consume about 3,600 milligrams of sodium daily — roughly 40 percent above the ‘‘slightly less ambitious’’ interim goal posited by the researchers — and much of that is hidden in processed foods such as cereals, bread and soups.
Research strongly suggests that lowering sodium consumption tends to lower blood pressure. That is important, because some 45 percent of cardiovascular disease in the United States is attributed to high blood pressure.