An international team of researchers set out to investigate the effects of high salt intake on blood pressure. The experts analyzed the diets of over 4,000 individuals and found that people who ate more salt had higher blood pressure no matter how healthy their overall diet was.
The researchers are now warning people to lower their salt intake and urging food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their products.
It is estimated that over 29 percent of adults in the United States and over 25 percent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure has a range of potential causes including weight, age, and eating too much salt.
Even though fruit and vegetables are believed to lower blood pressure, the new study has demonstrated that these foods cannot counteract the negative influence of high salt intake.
The team used dietary data to examine concentrations of sodium in urine samples from the study participants. They also measured the intake of potassium and over 80 other nutrients that are thought to be associated with lower blood pressure.
The study revealed that, even in people who were eating a high amount of potassium and other nutrients, higher salt intake was linked to high blood pressure.
Dr. Queenie Chan from the School of Public Health at Imperial is a co-lead author of the research
“We currently have a global epidemic of high salt intake – and high blood pressure,” said Dr. Chan. “This research shows there are no cheats when it comes to reducing blood pressure. Having a low salt diet is key – even if your diet is otherwise healthy and balanced.”
“As a large amount of the salt in our diet comes from processed food, we are urging food manufacturers to take steps to reduce salt in their products.”
The study is published in the journal Hypertension.