A recent study showed that making the switch to a salt substitute could lower the risk of stroke in some people, specifically those who are over 60 with a history of high blood pressure or a prior stroke.

21,000 participants were studied, with half using regular salt and the other half using a salt substitute.

The study was done in rural China, where people’s diets are very much under their control since most meals are homemade. This is why researchers worried that the study might not be comparable to other parts of the world where people buy pre-made foods.

Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, FAAC, a cardiologist based in Minneapolis, said, “The biggest barrier for lowering sodium intake in the United States is that much of our sodium intake is not under our control. In rural China, most meals are cooked from scratch, so sodium intake is under the control of the food preparer. Americans consume far more pre-prepared and processed foods. And a lot of those items deliver a lot of sodium even before we pick up the salt shaker. Sodium can also hide almost anywhere.”

In theory, the salt substitute could still prove to be useful for anyone around the world looking for a healthier alternative. It can still help to improve cardiovascular health and blood pressure. It would prove especially useful for those who made the switch to a more wholesome diet, made from scratch with very few processed foods included.

There are many substitutes to choose from that are made with different ingredients. Some are made without potassium chloride, some are made from potassium, and others are a sodium-free alternative to normal brands of salt.

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