The American Heart Association (AHA) says the country's love affair with processed foods has led to high instances of hypertension due to excessive salt intake.
They issued an advisory in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association calling for individuals, doctors and government entities to make efforts toward sodium intake reduction.
According to the advisory, healthcare costs stemming from heart disease could be reduced by $24 billion each year if Americans are willing to cut sodium intake by 1,200 milligrams per day.
The AHA recommends a daily 1,500 mg intake of sodium. Currently, the average citizen consumes more than 3,000 mg. Most of the excess salt we take in, according to the AHA, comes from packaged, processed and restaurant food.
Diets low in sodium may have the positive effects of lowering blood pressure — as well as reducing the risk of complications that stem from the condition — and facilitating healthy blood vessel, heart and kidney functions. The AHA says that 90 percent of Americans will develop hypertension over the course of their lifetime.
The association says even reducing intake slightly, by 400 mg per day, can have significant positive health benefits.