Cutting out salt effectively lowered blood pressure

Scientists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Birmingham have shown that avoiding salt can effectively lower blood pressure. Research results published in JAMA.

The tests involved 213 people aged 50 to 70 years, who were divided into several groups. One group ate a high-sodium diet (2,200 milligrams per day) and the other a low-sodium diet (500 milligrams per day). After a week, both groups switched diets to the opposite.

When salt intake was reduced, systolic blood pressure decreased by 7 to 8 millimeters of mercury compared with a high-sodium diet and by six millimeters of mercury compared with a normal diet. This is comparable to the effects of commonly used high blood pressure medications. The effect was observed in 72 percent of participants.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of illness worldwide. Hypertension can lead to heart failure, attacks and strokes because it puts extra pressure on the arteries.

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