HEALTH | Proper use of salt to prevent cardiovascular disease. Advice from Dr Del Prete

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 – In recent days, the World week for salt reduction. An initiative to educate about healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases including cardiovascular diseases often caused by the improper use of salt.

We talked about it with the Dr. Giuseppe Del Preteexecutive cardiologist at the hemodynamic cardiology division of the AOR “San Carlo” in Potenza who sent us this note.

dr. Giuseppe Del Prete


Known since the Neolithic period (10,000 years ago), salt begins its history in the culinary world with the appearance of the first stable civilizations which, passing from a life of hunters to that of farmers-breeders, began to feel the need to protect and preserve unaltered food. .and food for long periods of time. This is how salt was used as a method of preservation, especially for meat and fish. Only later as a condiment.
Sodium is the major cation in the body’s extracellular fluid and is a necessary nutrient for the maintenance of plasma volume, acid-base balance, nerve impulse transmission and normal cell function.
In healthy individuals, nearly 100% of ingested sodium is absorbed during digestion and urinary excretion is the primary mechanism for maintaining sodium balance. CONTINUES AFTER AD


• it is naturally contained in foods such as fruits, vegetables, water, meat, etc. and represents 10% of the total contribution
• that added during cooking or at the table represents on average 35% of the total intake
• that contained in processed and preserved products, both artisanal and industrial, and in food consumed outside the home therefore represents approximately 55% of the total.

We remember that:

1 gram of salt corresponds to 0.4 grams of sodium; 5 gramsamong those naturally present in food and those added, the equivalent of a teaspoon, is the daily amount of salt that we could consume, and recommended by the WHO, so as not to endanger the heart and the arteries.

In certain diseases, such as this heart failurethis limit should be reduced to a maximum of 3-4 grams per day.

In Italy, the average salt consumption per capita is around 10 to 15 grams per day, which is 2 to 3 times more than recommended. by who.


High blood pressure (values ​​above 130/80 mmHg) is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These include: stroke, minor ischemic stroke (TIA), myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in general, heart failure, vascular disease of the lower limbs and carotid arteries.

Despite therapy and better lifestyle habits in Western countries, a good 40% of patients are unaware of suffering from it and even for those taking medication, to a large extent (another 40-50%), the Desired pressure levels are not reached. For decades, these values ​​have been indicated and suggested by specific WHO guidelines.

It is estimated that in 2021, worldwide, 1.13 billion people were living with high blood pressure, including 150 million in Europe (about 23.2 of the population). Although the prevalence (% of the population) of high blood pressure in many European countries has decreased slightly in recent years, current levels are still of concern. Reducing salt remains an important public health strategy to further reduce blood pressure values.
As with salt intake, hypertension also tends to be higher in men than in women. The exact reason for this difference is not yet fully known, but part of the fault may be due to increased salt intake.


It is not difficult to reduce the daily salt intake, especially if the reduction occurs slowly, which forces our palate to adapt gradually. The objective set by the World Health Organization is to reduce salt consumption by 30% by 2025, which is why WASH (world organization for the control of salt consumption) recalls certain actions: use herbs, spices, garlic and citrus fruits instead of salt to add flavor to our drained foods and rinse canned vegetables and legumes, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables check labels *before buying for help us choose less salty food products: the reference value should be less than 1-1.2 grams of salt per 100 grams.

  • Pay attention to the amount of sodium in fruit juices, soft drinks and mineral supplements.
  • Gradually use less salt in our favorite recipes – your taste buds will gradually adapt.
  • Take salt and salty sauces off the table so that even the youngest in the family don’t get used to adding salt.

Anyone wishing to request information can send an email to our editorial staff:
Doctor Del Prete will respond through this column.

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