26 April 2011

Many ill-informed about red wine, sea salt

Confusion puts heart health at risk, experts say.


Confusion puts heart health at risk, experts say.

Many have heard that red wine has health benefits, but many don't understand the need to limit consumption, finds an American Heart Association survey.

The majority of respondents also mistakenly believe that sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt, the survey found. The poll was conducted to assess awareness about how wine and sodium affect heart health.

Of the 1,000 adults polled, 76% agreed with the statement that wine can be good for your heart, but only 30% knew the AHA's recommended limits for daily wine consumption.

Consumption of any type of alcohol should be limited to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. In general, that's about 226 grams of wine for men and 113 grams of wine for women.

Drinking too much of any type of alcohol can increase blood pressure and lead to heart failure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, cancer and obesity.

"This survey shows that we need to do a better job of educating people about the heart-health risks of overconsumption of wine, especially its possible role in increasing blood pressure," AHA spokesman Dr Gerald Fletcher, professor of medicine - cardiovascular diseases at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Fla., said in an AHA news release.

The survey results also indicate that most respondents don't know the primary source of sodium in their diets and are confused about low-sodium food choices. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and boost the risk of heart disease and stroke.

46% of respondents incorrectly said table salt is the primary source of sodium in diets. In fact, processed foods such as soups, canned foods, prepared mixes, condiments and tomatoe sauce account for up to 75% of sodium consumption.

61% of respondents believe that sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt. But sea salt and Kosher salt are chemically the same as table salt (40% sodium).

People should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, the AHA says. In order to limit sodium intake, read nutrition and ingredient labels on prepared and packaged foods, experts advise. (HealthDay News/ April 2011)

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