According to new research, removing one teaspoon of salt from your meals daily reduces blood pressure almost as much as using medication. This article examines this claim on the effect of less salt on your blood pressure.
What Were The Study’s Findings?
The researchers said their study is one of the largest ever to include patients who take high blood pressure medications while examining the effect of reducing dietary sodium intake.
Norrina Allen, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said 70-75% of all individuals are likely to experience a reduction in their blood pressure if they lower the sodium in their diet, regardless of whether they are using blood pressure medications.
She also said researchers previously didn’t know if people using blood pressure medications could reduce their blood pressure further by lowering their sodium intake. In the study, middle-aged to elderly participants reduced their salt intake by one teaspoon daily.
Dr. Deepak Gupta, co-principal investigator and an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the result was a fall in systolic blood pressure by about 6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). He also said this is similar to the effect produced by a commonly used first-line medication for high blood pressure.
How Was The Study Conducted?
The study included 213 men and women between 50 to 80 years of age. They were randomly assigned to follow a high-sodium (2,200 milligrams (mg) daily in addition to their usual diet) or a low-sodium diet (500 mg in total daily) for one week. Next, they switched and followed the other diet.
Compared to their regular diet, 72% of participants had lower systolic blood pressure when using the low-sodium regimen. Researchers said systolic pressure dropped 7 to 8 mm Hg when participants ate the low-sodium diet compared to the high-sodium diet and by 6 mm Hg compared with their usual eating habits.
Dr. Gupta said the effect of reduction in dietary sodium on blood pressure lowering was consistent for nearly all participants, including those with normal blood pressure, high blood pressure, and treated and untreated blood pressure.
What Does This Mean for Blood Pressure Treatment?
Dr. Cora Lewis, study co-author, said that blood pressure dropping significantly in a week emphasizes the possible public health impact of dietary sodium reduction in the population. She also said it’s exciting that products used in the low-sodium diet are generally available, meaning multiple people can improve their diet by modifying it with this method.
New research shows that reducing your salt intake can lower your blood pressure. This means you can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by making minor changes to your diet.