Curb heart-related deaths with less salt, more fatty acids

Measures that have helped lead to a reduction in heart disease and stroke death rates include improvements in medication and technology, smoking cessation and control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association.

However, risk factors leading to heart-related deaths, prevalent among Americans, include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use.

A low-salt diet might be one of the best ways to help lower blood pressure. Seventy million people in the U.S. have hypertension, and about half of those people are sensitive to salt, according to The New York Times. Hypertension also can result from obesity, diets low in fruits and vegetables and lifestyles lacking exercise.

A healthful diet and exercise could play the best role in managing hypertension. Also, a diet limited to 1,600 milligrams of salt per day – about a teaspoon – can push systolic blood pressure down about five points, the Times reports.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) might help maintain heart health. A small study conducted by researchers from King’s College London suggests EPA could offset effects of arterial stiffness, according to nutraingredients.com.

Consumption of the fatty acid has in the past shown to improve heart rhythms, reduce risks of second heart attacks and decrease risks of cardiovascular disease. The Web site also noted a September study that showed omega-3 fatty acids might improve elasticity of blood vessels and improve overall cardiovascular health.

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