Eating nutrients like proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and amino acids has no apparent effect on excessive sodium’s negative impact on heart health and blood flow, new research shows.

The results affirm that lowering sodium intake can reduce high blood pressure, one of the major risk factors for heart disease and the No. 1 killer worldwide.

Co-lead author Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, said the results of the study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, indicated that a widespread sodium reduction in the food supply is critical.

“To prevent and control the ongoing epidemic of prehypertension and hypertension, the salt content in the food supply must be reduced significantly,” Stamler said in a news release.

About three-quarters of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed, prepackaged and restaurant foods, not the salt shaker. The AHA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. But on average, Americans eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day.

The new research evaluated data on sodium intake and 80 other nutrients, such as proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, that may relate to blood pressure in 4,680 women and men ages 40-59 in Japan, People’s Republic of China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Cheryl Anderson, vice-chair of the AHA’s Nutrition Committee, said the findings show that the focus on sodium intake remains important. The AHA convenes food industry leaders and influencers to identify ways to improve the food supply and has developed a sodium reduction campaign to help.

“Restaurant and prepackaged food companies must be part of the solution because Americans desire the ability to choose foods that allow them to meet their sodium reduction goals,” Anderson said in a news release.

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