Food & Nutrition

15 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Cut Back on Salt

You’ll start to crave less salty foods

Snack of potato chips with sea salt over wooden background. Top view.Leonova Iuliia/Shutterstock

Cutting down on salt in your diet doesn’t mean everything will taste bland: “Large amounts of added salt can dull your taste buds, which means you will need more and more salt to achieve the desired ‘salty’ taste you crave,” Palinski-Wade says. “As you scale back on your salt intake, your taste buds become more sensitized, and that allows you to appreciate the salt more and help you to satisfy your salt fix with less actual sodium.” One serving of this common food has more salt than a McDonald’s burger.

You’ll discover other flavors

Traditional chinese medicine herbs and remedies in jarsElena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

As you start to cook with less salt, you’ll discover other flavors that add just as much flair to your food. “There are so many delicious seasonings and spices—many that offer health benefits—that can make food more appealing,” Palinski-Wade says. “Experiment with adding cinnamon, garlic, chili powder, and even nutmeg to flavor your food in different ways without reaching for the salt shaker.” Check out the magic ingredient that reduces your sodium and boosts flavor.

You’ll reduce your risk of death from any cause

Strip an electrocardiogram. Record of heartbeats.Horacio Selva/Shutterstock

The American Heart Association has set a goal of reducing cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent, in part by raising everyone’s awareness of the dangers of sodium, Dr. Yehya says. In addition, he says, “studies have reported that reducing sodium intake by 1,200 mg daily could lead to up to 120,000 fewer coronary heart disease cases, up to 66,000 fewer strokes, 99,000 fewer myocardial infarctions, and 92,000 fewer deaths from any cause,” he says. Other research suggests that reducing sodium intake in the American diet by 40 percent could save as many as 500,000 people from cardiovascular-related deaths over the next 10 years, he says. Try these 10 heart-healthy meals cardiologists cook for themselves.

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